26 Nov Media Release: Family Pharmacare Plan Misses Mark

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Halifax, NS – The proposed Families Pharmacare Plan released by the provincial government today will not solve the crises situation in the province when it comes to prescription drugs.

“There are 180,000 Nova Scotians with no drug coverage at all and a program that has a 20% co-pay and a deductible based on income will leave prescription drugs out of the reach of many Nova Scotians,” says Kyle Buott, Coordinator of the Health Network.  “The only possible solution is a National Pharmacare Program that will provide first dollar coverage to all Canadians based on need, not ability to pay.”

The proposed drug plan addresses only one of four qualities a good Pharmacare plan requires.

“The proposed plan addresses only providing prescription drugs to low-income families, it does not address other issues like safe and appropriate prescribing, cost controls, and universal access,” says Buott.  “The provincial government should join the chorus of other provinces calling on the Federal government to create a National Pharmacare Program.”

While any assistance designed to help offset the astronomical cost of prescription drugs will be welcomed by working class Nova Scotians, the key to creating a sustainable Pharmacare plan is to restructure the way we deal with pharmaceutical companies, which must be done on a national level.

“Just 4% of all new drugs created have new or improved therapeutic benefits, a pharmacare plan must seek to control drug costs by establishing an independent body to review which drugs are available under the plan.  There must be a clear and transparent process where the public can provide input,” says Buott. “We also need to look at bulk purchasing and patent reform to reduce costs.”

“The only way forward on providing universal access to prescription drugs is through a National Pharmacare Program.  The provincial government must join in the struggle for a National program based on need, not ability to pay, just like Medicare.”

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For more information please contact:

Kyle Buott
Coordinator
W – 406-9422
kyle@nshealthcoalition.ca

About the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network:

Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network’s goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.

The Network is a coalition of community groups, organized labour, faith groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and advancing public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care and long-term and home care.

The Network is non-partisan and receives no government funding.