On 16 May 2006, AIMS gathered the leading experts on the gap in prescription drug coverage from across the country. A summary of the “When Tea and Sympathy are not Enough” is available at this link. 

Linda Wilhelm, a panelist and patient advocate, brought her personal story to the conference. 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 stated simply it could happen to anyone because “people don’t know they aren’t covered”. 

She said, “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. To view more of Wilhelm’s presentation, click here. To read a transcript of her remarks, click here.

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.” To view more of Fraser’s remarks, click here.

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 a transcript of Abbott’s remarks, click here.

To review the presentations of other speakers at this conference, click the links below:

      • Karen Philp:
      • National Director, Public Policy and Government Relations – Canadian Diabetes Association. The perspective of a national patient group. Powerpoint or Transcript

      • David Griller: From SECOR (Montreal), on balancing social concerns and the need for pharmaceutical innovation. Powerpoint or Transcript 
      • Bryan Ferguson:
      • Partner – Applied Management, Toronto, co-author of Canadians’ Access to Insurance for Prescription Medicine. PowerPoint or Transcript

      • Brian Ferguson: Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at University of Guelph, and AIMS Fellow in Health Care Economics. Transcript
      • Rob Weld: Partner – Sinclair, Billard & Weld, talks about the role the private sector can and should play in closing the coverage gap in Atlantic Canada. Powerpoint or Transcript
      • Grace-Marie Turner: President of the Galen Institute in Washington, DC., is a member of the Medicaid Commission and of the National Advisory Council of Healthcare Research and Quality. Special Guest Speaker. Transcript.

To read a Summary of the event, click here.

To read more about the conference, click here.