EDMONTON, AB. – July 19th, 2017 – The provincial/territorial Premiers met today at the Council of the Federation in Edmonton, Alberta. Health was on the agenda. Patient groups, patients, caregivers and their supporters were in Edmonton to follow the outcome of the meeting. They wanted to ensure that the decisions made enhanced 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 as 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, “I was encouraged to hear the Premiers support exploring ways to continue to lower drug prices while ensuring access to necessary treatments based on specific provincial/territorial needs. 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. There is certainly a role for a pan-Canadian solution recognizing economic and demographic differences in each province. Differences should not create inequitable access to life-saving and life-enhancing medicines. We look forward to working with the provinces/territories to achieve these laudable aims.’’
“Myeloma patients support this direction. We trust that savings will go directly back into the health care system to enhance further innovation in health care and access to necessary treatments especially for people who are presently uninsured or underinsured. Access to necessary medicines should never be based on your ability to pay or your postal code,” 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 life-saving drugs, enhance drug access in Canada and address high priced pharmaceuticals.
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