No more waiting: for prescription drugs

This represents 17% of all health care spending – and it’s more than is spent on physicians! Drugs have become a vital part of our health care system – and the constant stream of new discoveries will only increase their importance (and cost). It’s a particularly vital issue for the 50-plus, who are more likely to require ongoing prescription drugs…and to face higher costs. Yet the “system” for helping Canadians pay for drugs is seriously flawed. Instead of a national system, each province creates its own drug formulary, listing the drugs it will subsidize. Provinces often delay listing new drugs in their formularies. Or they restrict the use of listed drugs. Not surprisingly, this leads to huge differences in coverage from province to province. Here are just a couple of examples… A 2004 study by the Edmonton-based Institute of Health Economics surveyed 115 established cancer drugs. It found that only 7 were provided free to cancer patients in all 10 provinces. Although nearly half were available for free in at least 9 provinces, the rest – over 50 drugs – were available only in some provinces but not in othersThe Canadian Health Coalition, in a paper presented in May of this year, put the case of a couple over the age of 65, with an income of $35,000 and in need of $1,000 worth of drugs per year. This couple would pay – the entire $1,000 cost, if they lived in New Brunswick or Newfoundland – 2/3 of the cost if they lived in Quebec – 1/3 of the cost if they lived in Ontario or BC – Zero if they lived in the Yukon or Northwest Territories Clearly, this situation is unacceptable. The best solution would be a single national plan. This was recommended by both the Romanow and Kirby commissions, and is strongly endorsed by CARP. But so far, there has been no action. Lots of talk, lots of promises, lots of studies… So CARP says, “No more waiting.” CARP demands that all provinces immediately list in their formularies all drugs that have been approved for sale by Health Canada. Period. That’s all drugs. Now. No more waiting! Do you know what your province covers?Click here to go to, an excellent web site for all the drug benefit information you need in one place. It is a guide to reimbursement for medications through provincial / territorial and federal drug benefit plans. It links to the drug benefit formularies that list covered drugs.CARP demands Immediate coverage, under all provincial drug benefit programs, of all drugs approved by Health Canada.

Learn More:

Demand 1) Guaranteed wait times for 18 essential medical treatments.
Click here to read the details.

Demand 2) Immediate coverage, under all provincial drug benefit plans, of all drugs approved by Health Canada.
Click here to read the details.

Demand 3) $2 billion to be earmarked by the Federal Government to provide respite facilities and information resources for family caregivers.
Click here to read the details.

Can we succeed? It all depends…on you.