Better Pharmacare Coalition

Better Pharmacare Coalition

November 27, 2006 19:38 ET

Better Pharmacare Coalition: Conversation on Health Care Presents Opportunity for Patients

Coalition Asks that PharmaCare Program be Strengthened

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 27, 2006) -

Attention: Editors & News Directors

The province's largest patient advocacy organization says the "Conversation on Health" has great potential to improve patient care and insure a sustainable health care system for all British Columbians.

"We will be presenting the issues and solutions that we have been advocating for with the Premier and the Minister of Health for the last two years," says Better Pharmacare Coalition coordinator Brian Battison. "The Government's task will be to demonstrate it is listening and is now prepared to act."

The PharmaCare Program, a vital component of the health care system, will be the primary focus of the Better Pharmacare Coalition's attention, when it comes to the 'Conversation'. The provincial PharmaCare Program helps patients' access the medicines essential in the treatment of illness and disease, yet in recent years the program has faltered, lost its way and is in need of revitalization.

According to Conversation on Health discussion documents, the Ministry of Health consumes approximately 42 cents of the total government-spending dollar. Less than 3 cents of that dollar is spent on the PharmaCare budget. The members of the Better Pharmacare Coalition believe that those 3 cents represent a valuable return on investment.

Under pressure to manage rising costs, PharmaCare has regrettably chosen to make it increasingly difficult for patients to gain access to the latest medications, opting instead to restrict patients to older and often less effective medicines. There are other options available to manage costs many of which are contained in the Corbett Report, an extensive government sponsored examination of PharmaCare involving several key health stakeholder organizations that has yet to be made public.

Over the next few months our membership, individually and collectively, will present our ideas for improving PharmaCare, making it a better, more responsive, and more sustainable program. We are prepared to work in consultation with other groups, seek expert opinion from health care professionals and promote public education of appropriate use of medicines.

What we ask in return is that PharmaCare abandon its plans for expanding outdated cost reduction programs such as reference based pricing and therapeutic substitution, which negatively influence the physician-patient relationship and in many cases lead to inferior health outcomes.

Any initiative to manage drug costs should be done with the goal of optimizing patient outcomes and be cost effective for the entire health care system. Reference-based pricing does not meet either of these conditions. Nor do these outdated cost containment strategies align with the principles of chronic disease management, which emphasize the need for incorporating best evidence and practice into patient care. "Here, PharmaCare really needs to break free of its 'silo approach' to health care", Battison reinforced.

The Better Pharmacare Coalition is an association of patients, consumers, and health professionals representing in excess of 1.5 million BC patients committed to improving patient access to medications in British Columbia. The coalition represents people in poor health and in need of medicines, patients who are fighting every day against chronic illness like diabetes, arthritis, respiratory and mental illness, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, and chronic digestive track disorders. Also represented by the coalition are older British Columbians, the segment of the population most dependent on PharmaCare.

Member Organizations, Better Pharmacare Coalition

Arthritis Consumers Experts (ACE)
The Arthritis Society, BC & Yukon Division
BC Lung Association
BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS)
BC Society of Gastroenterology
The Business and Professional Women's Clubs of BC & Yukon (BPWC)
The Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA)
Canadian Diabetes Association
Canadian Society of Intestinal Research
CARP - Canada's Association for the 50+
Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon
Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC Division
Mood Disorders Association of B.C. (MDA BC)
Parkinson Society British Columbia

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