Drug costs

17 per cent of British Columbians do not fill prescriptions because they're expensive, nearly double the national rate of 9.6 per cent

Health care woes continue to pile up in B.C. According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association journal, fully 17 per cent of British Columbians do not fill prescriptions because they are just too expensive, nearly double the national rate of  9.6 per cent.

When people cannot afford to buy prescriptions, the end result is deteriorating health, which in turn results in increasing demands on our hospitals and emergency rooms.

B.C. residents are already struggling with the HST, higher MSP premiums, hydro rates and growing housing costs, and now we’ll be paying even more for prescribed drugs. Why? It’s because of policies that put multi-national drug companies ahead of public health care.

B.C. recently negotiated generic drug prices 40 per cent higher than levels set in Ontario and Quebec. That’s bad enough, but B.C.’s failure to intervene in trade negotiations with Europe will likely push drug costs even higher, up to $250 million a year higher, by restricting our access to generics.

I have to ask, in all of this, who is speaking out on behalf of the citizens of British Columbia? More importantly, who is acting on our behalf?

Mark Olsen

Vernon