British Columbia Liberal Party responses

Question 1:

According to the British Columbia Medical Association, healthcare is the number one issue for British Columbians. British Columbia has been recognized as providing some of the best care for cancer patients in Canada. What are you going to do to improve on this record and continue providing not just good care but good outcomes for cancer patients and survivors in the province?


Through tough economic times, Today’s BC Liberal government has made smart investments in health care that mean better care for all British Columbians. Our $8-billion funding for health capital includes new hospitals and new hospital towers in Abbotsford, Victoria, Kelowna, Vernon, Surrey and Vancouver – and many more major projects are progressing as well.

Over the next three years, we will invest an additional $2.3 billion in health care capital projects.

Additionally, we will continue to invest in the budget for the Ministry of Health, increasing spending for health operations by an additional $2.4 billion over the next three years.

We are proud that BC has some of the best cancer outcomes in Canada. According to 2012 estimates in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics report, British Columbian men and woman have the:

Lowest overall mortality rate for all cancers in Canada;
Lowest overall incident rate of cancer in the country;
Lowest incident rate for lung and colorectal cancers; and
Best five-year survival rate for breast cancer in Canada at 91.8 per cent.

Since 2001, we have opened two additional cancer agency centres – one in Abbotsford and one in Prince George. As a result, BC now has a total of six cancer agency centres.

Today’s BC Liberal government has increased spending on cancer care and control by 173 per cent since 2001.

Question 2:

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published research in 2012 that showed one in ten Canadians report they skip doses or decide not to fill prescriptions because of cost, with the highest incidence of cost non adherence happening in BC.[1] If elected to government, what will you do to make prescription medications more affordable?


Today’s BC Liberals have taken strong action to make prescription medications more affordable.

The Pharmaceutical Services Act, which came into force on May 31, 2012, has allowed us to reduce the price of generic drugs to 25 per cent of the brand name price as of April 1 this year, and will allow us to further reduce it to 20 per cent as of April 1, 2014. Previously, generics cost 35 per cent of the brand-name price.

We also worked with other jurisdictions in Canada to lower the price for six widely-used generic drugs, which could produce savings of $100 million for provincial and territorial drug plans once fully implemented.

We are proud of what our government has achieved. For example:

B.C. provides 100 per cent coverage of psychiatric medications for those in need;
PharmaCare provides 100 per cent coverage, with no deductible and no co-pay, for families on income assistance and people in residential care; and
By ensuring no family pays more than four per cent of their income towards their prescription drug costs, PharmaCare protects B.C. residents from catastrophic drug costs.
Today’s BC Liberals will continue to work to make prescription drugs more affordable for all British Columbians.

Question 3:

A key element of ensuring timely treatment for a cancer patient is ensuring they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in British Columbia. If elected to government, will you commit to ensuring that all cancer patients in British Columbia receive timely access to medications at the time they need it?


Through the Provincial Health Services Authority, the BC Cancer Agency provides a province-wide, population-based cancer control program for the residents of British Columbia and the Yukon.

Today’s BC Liberals will continue to enhance health care spending going forward, and we will build on our record of success. Recently, we made two changes that we believe will make a difference in the fight against cancer:

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada, yet it is also one of the most preventable. Effective Oct. 15, 2012, young people under the age of 18 have been banned from tanning beds in British Columbia.
We launched a province wide colorectal cancer screening program on April 1, 2013, which will assist in early detection of the disease and save lives.

Today’s BC Liberals recognize that research is important to unlocking the causes of this disease, and many others. Since 2001, we have invested more than $850 million in health research. Recipients of funding include the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Genome BC, and the Centre for Drug Research and Development. We will continue to invest in and support outstanding health research in British Columbia.

Question 4:

BC’s PharmaCare Prosthetic and Orthotic Program currently provides some reimbursement for medical devices to treat lymphedema, up to $150 for ready-made compression garments and up to $300 for custom-made garments.[2] However, this is limited to use for the upper body. If elected to government, will you commit to extending current levels of reimbursement for lymphedema treatment so that funding for compression garments is available, regardless of the underlying cause or location of lymphedema?


Today’s BC Liberals are committed to looking for ways to improve the excellent cancer care that is delivered in British Columbia. We will continue to examine evidence-based proposals and consult with stakeholders going forward.