A very successful PharmaCare Form was held in Vancouver Quadra on May 26th 2017. This event was sponsored by the Quadra Granville Seniors Group; a group that works with seniors and the community to influence all levels of government to develop and implement supportive policies for seniors. The Forum was attended by 90 people from the Vancouver Quadra, Vancouver Granville, Vancouver East, Vancouver Kingsway, Vancouver South, Delta and Port-Moody-Coquitlam ridings. Dr. Steve Morgan presented a very compelling argument for why we need “A Better Prescription For Medicines in Canada”. Click here to see his presentation. Quadra MP Joyce Murray presented an overview of the Federal Government’s perspective on health care. Isobel MacKenzie, Seniors Advocate for BC, presented guidelines on what her office is doing to improve the health of seniors in BC.
Every developed country with a universal health care system provides universal coverage of prescription drugs – except Canada!
Canada’s Medicine Costs Keep Increasing
Canada’s per capita expenditure on medicines is much higher than other countries, as shown in the graph below.
As shown in the graph below, the number of “expensive” medicines is increasing as is the number of Canadians taking these medicines. For example, the number of medicines costing more than $50,000 per year has increased from 2 in 2005 to 20 in 2015.
Canadians from 1 in 4 households do not take medications as prescribed because of cost
Compared to other countries, Canada comes out the worst in this category as is shown in the graph below
What Drives Higher Rx Spending in Canada?
The major factor leading to the high cost of medicines in Canada is that we simply pay more for them, compared to other countries.
Here is how many patients could receive a year’s supply of cholesterol treatment for $1 million – in Canada, the UK and New Zealand.
What about Drug Company Research & Development?
Some people think that if we pay less for medicines, then the drug companies will take their research & development to other countries. This is not true, as shown in the graph below. For example, Denmark spends almost one third less per capita on medicines, but receives about 18 times more drug company research & development per capita.
Some Other Facts
- 1 in 3 Canadian seniors receives 1 or more medicine that is a risk for older patients.
- 1 in 5 hospitalizations is caused by prescription overuse, underuse, or misuse.
- The annual cost of potentially inappropriate prescriptions filled by older Canadians is $419 million.
- 46% of Canadians worry about being able to afford medicines they will need in the next 10 years.
- 7 in 10 employers support universal, public pharmacare.
- A single-payer pharmacare would save Canadians $7 billion every year.