Citizens for Justice and Peace

Report: Canadians cut back on heating, food to pay for prescription drugs

15, Feb 2018 | CJP Team

A newly published report estimated that in 2017, 968,000 people in Canada reduced their expenses so that they could pay for prescription drugs, according to the Guardian. This included 730,000 who reduced food expenses and 238,000 who cut heating expenses. Although Canada has universal healthcare, Canada is still the world’s only developed country lacking a universal drug plan. The study, which was conducted by researchers at four Canadian universities, also found that more than 1.6 million Canadians either could not fill prescriptions or missed drug doses due to concerns regarding their cost. Young people, low-income Canadians, and those who lack insurance are excessively impacted by this issue. Indigenous people also reported double the difficulties compared to the larger population, and women struggled more than men to afford medications. Researchers had anticipated affordabilty to impact drugs treating chronic ailments, the Guardian said. However, they found that a wide swathe of prescriptions were unfilled because people couldn’t pay for them, most commonly drugs for depression. A recent federal government study found that a national drug plan would cost Canada $3.3 billion less than what the country currently spends on medication annually. Researchers cautioned that hampered access drugs strains other areas in healthcare. The study’s lead researcher, Michael Law of the University of British Columbia, told the Guardian that those unable to obtain medication “are more likely to end up in the health care system” because their health worsens, resulting higher “hospital or physician expenditures…which of course the public purse pays for.” 



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