The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) has published the summary of its conference on the catastrophic gap in prescription drug coverage. Considered one of the most pressing issues on the health care scene, more and more Canadians are finding out first hand it can be a devastating problem.  

The AIMS conference, “When Tea and Sympathy are not Enough”, brought together experts from across the country. For Linda Wilhelm it is a personal story, a story that unfortunately is not unique. 

It is a story of the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on her hospital care, while a simple prescription to an expensive drug would have cost less than half that amount. She told the conference it could happen to anyone because “people don’t know they aren’t covered”. 

She was quite blunt when she suggested, “Patients in Atlantic Canada are being harmed by our government not addressing catastrophic drug costs.” And Wilhelm said patients have to be at the table to help find the solutions and lead the way.

Ken Fraser of the Fraser Group provided an analysis of what’s happening across the country. He said, ” The major gap in the country is here in Atlantic Canada. There are solutions and they aren’t out of our reach.”

The Deputy Minister of Health and Community Services in Newfoundland and Labrador, John Abbott, explained that his province is working on a solution.

“Our plan can be viewed as a bridge to a national plan. It is a start. It shows our commitment to address this pressing policy priority within our fiscal means. But, it also recognizes that there are still many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians without coverage.

Our Government has taken-up the gauntlet; other governments in Atlantic Canada are facing a similar challenge. The federal government has acknowledged the need – it is time that a comprehensive approach is adopted.

I certainly ask that AIMS make sure that the presentations and findings of this conference be distributed to all ministers (of health) and deputies across the country.”

To read the event summary that was sent to all Ministers and Deputies across Canada, click here.

To read more about the event, click here.