Premiers Council of the Federation Meetings Signal Positive Direction in Health but the Devil is in the Details

EDMONTON, AB. – July 18th, 2017 – The provincial/ territorial Premiers are meeting today and tomorrow at the Council of the Federation meeting in Edmonton, Alberta. Patient groups, patients, caregivers and their supporters in Edmonton to follow the outcomes of the meeting. They are calling on the attendees to ensure that the decisions they make will not limit access to necessary life-saving, life-extending and significant quality of life-enhancing treatments to Canadians through the provincial health care and drug reimbursement systems.

Louise Binder has been analyzing this issue for years on behalf of patient groups. She is a Health Policy Consultant with Save Your Skin Foundation, a national patient-led advocacy group supporting skin cancer patients and a co-founding member of the Drug Pricing Policy Working Groups, brought together after the 2016 Drug Pricing Policy Summit co-sponsored by Save Your Skin Foundation, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and Canadian Cancer Survivor Network.

Binder said, “Patients requiring safe and effective but high cost drugs for life threatening conditions, including oncology, certainly support steps to ensure access to all people in Canada who need them in a timely manner. We also recognize that public health care systems and drug budgets do not have unlimited funds and must make evidence-based treatment coverage decisions after meaningful consultation with patients and patient group representatives and other relevant stakeholders.’’

“Myeloma patients support this direction. We trust that savings will go directly back into the health care system to enhance further innovation in healthcare and access to necessary treatments especially for people who are presently uninsured or underinsured,” said Martine Elias, the Director of Access, Advocacy and Community Relations at Myeloma Canada and a member of the Drug Pricing Policy Working Groups. “We also want to ensure that research and innovation of new drugs continue in Canada.”

The many patient organizations participating in the Drug Pricing Policy Working Groups encourage relevant stakeholders to reconsider the way we measure the value of potential lifesaving drugs, enhance drug access in Canada and address high priced pharmaceuticals.

For further information:
Louise Binder

Lia Iapaolo