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LETTER: National Pharmacare – dare to dream

Many people are not sure what Pharmacare is because it varies by province. Does Pharmacare mean coverage for seniors? Is it for low income and seniors? The disabled? Certainly there is no shame in not knowing what Pharmacare means because at this point each province seems to tackle a Pharmacare plan differently.

A national Pharmacare program would mean coverage for all; all medications at an affordable price with no surprises. What a gift for Canada to not only have access to doctors and hospitals, which we currently have, but also to needed medications at an affordable price.

As Canadians, we take Medicare for granted, if we get sick or need to see a doctor there is no charge for Canadian citizens. We have a national Medicare program in place. However, the missing part of our Medicare is a national Pharmacare program. What good is it if we get treatment and necessary prescriptions when in the hospital but once released the cost of prescription then falls on the individual, who may or may not have health care coverage? Prescriptions are often very expensive. A national Pharmacare program would see prescriptions at one, affordable price.

Case in point, the following was posted on a local media page and it truly broke my heart. I know firsthand the expense of treating Type 1 diabetes in the continuing quest to keep someone healthy.

“What’s a person supposed to do when they don’t have money for insulin or supplies?”

Should this be a problem in Canada? A National Pharmacare program would save Canada money by negotiating as one entity. We are not talking millions we are talking BILLIONS in savings. Negotiating by province and by health carrier has splintered our system and resulted in a variety of different prices across the country. Negotiating as one strong power would allow the money saved to be allotted to other health care areas such as mental health, hip and knee replacements reduced to a wait of weeks not months or years. To see what the cost savings would be we merely need to look at the cost of prescriptions in Canada versus many other countries. The losers would be the Pharmaceutical companies shareholders. I am OK with that. I dare say the majority of Canadians would be ok with that as well.

A national Pharmacare program allows everyone access to medications no matter who you are or where you live. Having the proper access to medications means better management of long-term illnesses and cost savings resulting from fewer hospital stays that often result from not taking proper medications and dosages.

This will take a national movement by Canadians since it has been discussed by our government since the 1960s with no steps actually being taken. What can you do? Call or write your local MLA, MP and the federal health minister. Questions asked must (should) be answered as these held positions represent the people. Also please sign our petition,

A National Pharmacare program in Canada is achievable, every Canadian deserves this basic right; access to medication.

Pharmacare by 2020, it is time!

Tammy MacLaren

New Glasgow


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