Pharmacare Would Complement MediCare In Canada

“Establishing a universal program for prescription medications would amount to about $4.2 billion in savings annually in Canada, the parliamentary budget officer says in a new report.
 
The report, requested by the House of Commons standing committee on health, was released Thursday.
 
It provides estimates of the cost to the federal government for a national pharmacare program based on the list of drugs publicly covered in Quebec.

Canada is the only industrialized country with universal medicare that does not provide universal coverage for prescription medications.
 
Nearly 10 per cent of Canadians say they don’t take recommended medications because of cost, previous research suggests.”
 
See Universal pharmacare would save Canadians $4.2B a year, parliamentary budget officer says
Wow! It’s great to learn something every day. I’d thought Canadian MediCare was a wonderful feature of life in Canada and now I read folks are considering adding PharmaCare to the mix. It makes sense. Prescription medicines are a major tool of MDs. As a senior, I depend on some generic medicines to extend my useful life. I can afford to pay for my medicine but it would be crucial for many. My province, Manitoba, already has its own version of PharmaCare. After I’ve paid $x for prescriptions in a year, the cost to me is $0 for the rest of the year. Canada could easily afford the same sort of national programme. Making sure Canadians could afford medicine would also make MediCare a bit more effective, with everyone taking their medicine. Further, it would give USAians one more reason to envy Canadians’ sane healthcare system.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to Pharmacare Would Complement MediCare In Canada

  1. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    Ever heard of deductibles for auto-insurance or MediCare?

    No, Robert, never (have you ever heard about Europe, by– nevermind).

    We have something called “public health care system,” in it – that is to say within the services envelope provided by it – you do not get to pay, anything, ever.

    No, it doesn’t cover just any problem (or “problem”) you might desire, so there is an ongoing process of forcing said system to cover additional issues as they become recognised by medical science.

    But actually having to pay for medication and then bragging about it, gee, you’ve stooped low, very low.

    Or, perhaps you simply don’t appreciate the position you find yourself in… spoiler: it’s not a good one.

  2. oiaohm says:

    https://www.humanservices.gov.au/organisations/about-us/budget/budget-2014-15/budget-measures/older-australians/increase-age-pension-qualifying-age-70-years
    Robert Pogson its a progressive roll in. You did not have the same levels of work place safety and other things so your body is failing sooner than the young people coming after you. Some of the strength loss you would have at your age is caused by being exposed to some chemicals that are now fully banned. Yes there is a lot of study into the Australian move of retirement age to 70. Yes DDT and other chemicals that that did a number on longer term Muscle strength of course did not show up as a short term effect. The step in is aligned with people lower exposures to these problems.

    A lot of increased life span is due to preventing death, not increased productivity of seniors. e.g. In my own case
    Really when you go to some of Japan islands they have people working full time jobs into the 80s but they also did not use DDT and other things nasty. In fact keeping activity up to maintain muscle strength is required to extend life. I am not saying a 70 year old can keep up with a teenager but to be able to have a 90 year old lifespan a 70 year need to be as physically fit as most 50 year with the toxicity in body. Why after 70 years old you biggest risk death starts coming falls from lack of muscle strength. So early retirement that leads to less activity equals equals less muscle strength that equals really bad particularly when you want extend population age.

    Robert Pogson your right people of your age group working to 70 not possible. That was taken away from you due to what you were exposed to when younger. Now younger people who have not been exposed that that working to 70 is more than possible.

  3. oiaohm wrote, “Our government is working on moving retirement age to 70 due to Australian population improving life spans.”

    A lot of increased life span is due to preventing death, not increased productivity of seniors. e.g. In my own case, I am still well under 70 but far below my peak of productivity. Just ask TLW… Whatever I’m doing, I have to take frequent rests to rehydrate, rest, cool down, and stop shaking… Only a few years ago I used to walk 8 miles at a good clip and fully recover in minutes. Now, moving a few garden hoses is an hour’s work and I can’t stand behind the rototiller for more than an hour or so at a time. Only five years ago, I was a superman compared to me today. So, I retired for good reason before 65 years of age. 70 years would be just silly. I would have to drive a car to/from work just for a part time job.

    Let the young folk have those jobs and we old guys can putter in our workshops and yards telling the grand children harrowing stories of the old days. There may be some people who can thrive at 70 but it’s just a fraction of seniors. While expected lifetime is a few years longer, mortality creeps in. It can’t be avoided. In my world folks start dying at a serious rate past 40 and in the 60s it’s happening with alarming regularity. Quite a few are living to 90 but I don’t know anyone past 65 that can compete with a teenager. Young people are muttering, “must hydrate” while old folks are muttering, “must pee”…

    The world would be a better place if bitter angry old men like Trump retired earlier.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Grece maybe because Canada live longer they think in longer term plans than you do and have way more patience to wait for stuff. Australians also live longer than people in the USA. Our government is working on moving retirement age to 70 due to Australian population improving life spans. 82 years vs 79 is quite a bit if difference. Please note USA population life span expand has seams to flat lined at 79 and without heath-care reform that is what USA population lifespan will be stuck.

    Reality by the numbers you would not look at the USA medicinal system as best in world. Australia is in the top 5. In fact all the top 5 have some government controlled program providing discounted drugs to citizens and using this system to force down drug prices. People cannot stay healthy if they cannot afford the drugs they need. So you would say Canada implementing Pharmacare is just following best in the world method.

  5. Grece says:

    yet Canadians still live longer than USAians. Fancy that…

    Yes…fancy that. Bitching about Trump this and Trump that, while spending pension money on Chinese tractors, while dreaming of solar arrays and electric cars all day.

    Seems like a worthy retirement goal there.

  6. Grece ranted about Canadian wait-times, yet Canadians still live longer than USAians. Fancy that… Three years ago, I needed to go to emergency twice. In one case, I had bleeding under control so waiting was not a problem. I waited less than an hour. In another case I had a more urgent problem and I went in immediately. I had the attention of a nurse promptly and a doctor took over as soon as the nurse reached an impass. In both cases waiting was not an issue at all and I don’t even live in a city. We drove to the nearest hospital and had good service. My scheduled visits are like clockwork. My doctor is very busy and almost always 10-15 minutes behind schedule. It’s not a problem. Specialists? The last specialist I saw has a walk-in clinic and waiting would be less than an hour without an appointment. He’s very punctual for a scheduled appointment. He’s the fastest doctor I’ve ever seen.

    So, while waiting may be a problem in congested cities, folks can still find a responsive doctor and healthcare with acceptable wait-times depending on location. There are regions very short of doctors but there are regions where things are very smooth. For instance, Vancouver is huge and has lots of healthcare but I bet waiting in bumper to bumper traffic would be more of a consideration than waiting on a medical professional. We don’t get traffic jams where I live.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Grece
    Commonwealth Fund Survey 2016 is uses a lot then you see that they only questioned 2000 USA people in the 2016 and over double that in Australia and Canada with smaller populations. https://www.cihi.ca/sites/default/files/document/cmwf-2016-meth-notes-en-web.pdf
    Yes a lot of news was made that USA had better waiting times than Canada but reality you don’t have the documentation that the USA is really better. Yes and the made up data has you asking question why survey numbers are so small.

    Number surveyed divide by population
    2000/323100000=0.00000619003 for the USA.
    4547/36290000=0.00012529622 for Canada
    5248/24130000=0.0002174886 for Australia
    Interesting right the number held up that the USA waiting time is good from surveys has massively lower percent of population checked so has a higher error factor. Error fact that large that USA may or may not be better or worse than Canada.

    Australia and Canada can go back to the nationally collected data and confirm that their positions on list to each other are correct and correct to other countries with nationally collected data. USA wild guess because they don’t have the nationally collected data from 100 percent of people using medical services.

    Before claiming you have a good system grece make sure you do have the data to back it up and not standing on unreliable survey data. Its also fun a lot of the survey data that says Canada is bad and USA is good is done by bodies in Canada attempting to extract more government funding so resort to surveys instead of using the government collected data.

    Grece read particular the last paragraph of the stuff you refused to read. At this point you will wake up you used something questionable.

    Its possible to have a 4 hour+ wait at Australian emergency department as well if you are triaged as having non critical. This is why there is a advertisements in Australia saying to use dial a doctor or a phone nurse service.

    1 of out 2 Canadians reported waiting 4 or more weeks to see a specialist.
    That a big bold lie that does not agree with Canada national collected data.

    Grece basically the information you are using is bogus.

  8. Grece says:

    Well Robert, your fellow Canadians say otherwise.

    1 out of 5 Canadians reported waiting 7 or more days to see a family doctor the last time they needed medical attention.

    1 out of 3 Canadians reported waiting 4 or more hours the last time they went to the emergency department.

    1 of out 2 Canadians reported waiting 4 or more weeks to see a specialist.

    https://www.cihi.ca/en/commonwealth-fund-survey-2016-infographic

  9. Grece wrote this nonsense, “Canada is known for its “free” healthcare, so long as you pay-up yearly, and know for its extremely long-wait times to see doctors.”

    That bears no relationship with facts. I can see a good doctor any time just by going to a nearby hospital or clinic. There is triage at hospitals so if you’re not bleeding out you may have to wait an hour or so but except for remote areas there’s no problem getting healthcare.

  10. oiaohm says:

    Grece HamDong, can you condense your point down to a one or two sentences? No one wants to read a wall of gibberish.
    Since you asked HamDong who is not here the answer is absolutely no. Reality is not gibberish. There are 6 points in there so 1 or 2 sentences no way. Each paragraph is a point.

  11. Grece says:

    HamDong, can you condense your point down to a one or two sentences? No one wants to read a wall of gibberish.

  12. oiaohm says:

    My heart examinations, I can schedule that week and walk-in that week, pay the physician $200 and be on my way. The process I use is impossible in Canada.
    Grece really you a idiot.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168851013001759
    Reality about the USA is they have no wait time assurance. So yes you might be able to have your examination but then die due to not being able to have the operation because you don’t have enough money. Also Canada is not impossible to schedule the way you did either but you do have an protection system that if it cannot be done that week that there is a max wait time until you are processed.

    Most people are not aware that the USA does not monitor doctor waiting times so USA data on how long USA wait times is in fact made up. And that made up data USA people claim their system is better Canada when they really don’t know.

    Commonwealth Fund Survey 2016 is uses a lot then you see that they only questioned 2000 USA people in the 2016 and over double that in Australia and Canada with smaller populations. https://www.cihi.ca/sites/default/files/document/cmwf-2016-meth-notes-en-web.pdf
    Yes a lot of news was made that USA had better waiting times than Canada but reality you don’t have the documentation that the USA is really better. Yes and the made up data has you asking question why survey numbers are so small.

    Number surveyed divide by population
    2000/323100000=0.00000619003 for the USA.
    4547/36290000=0.00012529622 for Canada
    5248/24130000=0.0002174886 for Australia
    Interesting right the number held up that the USA waiting time is good from surveys has massively lower percent of population checked so has a higher error factor. Error fact that large that USA may or may not be better or worse than Canada.

    Australia and Canada can go back to the nationally collected data and confirm that their positions on list to each other are correct and correct to other countries with nationally collected data. USA wild guess because they don’t have the nationally collected data from 100 percent of people using medical services.

    Before claiming you have a good system grece make sure you do have the data to back it up and not standing on unreliable survey data. Its also fun a lot of the survey data that says Canada is bad and USA is good is done by bodies in Canada attempting to extract more government funding so resort to surveys instead of using the government collected data.

  13. oiaohm says:

    https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/pharmaceutical-benefits-scheme-pbs-safety-net
    Really free medications part is key to correct function of Australia PBS.

    Robert Pogson Australia decided to simplify the thresholds. Those on pensions and low income and the like after paying a very small amount their medications are covered. Those with wages each medication is reduced to a fixed max value.

    Please note it might be a fairly small amount for those on pensions and low income but its a min of at least 60 different boxes of drugs and that works out at about 3 boxes of drugs a fortnight. So the government here is not excepting to pay out that often.

    And when you divide the other number by 60 you see that Australian government is expecting a max of 25 dollars a box. Charging more than that will get pharma company customer in the PBS supply system inside a year in most cases and if pharma company have a cheaper competitor they lose that customer because the customer is given the cheaper alternative.

    One thing when Australian government is paying cheapest form of the medication is provided. It does not matter if doctor writes brand name on script either the pharmacist is legally allowed and required to change to cheaper equal brand produced by possibly different company. Also pharmacist is allowed to offer the consumer what is called generic what is current the cheapest version of X tablet by any maker. Yes the PBS purchasing system in Australia you need to get on the list to make sales and marketing heavily to doctors will not get far. Also attempting to market to pharmacist will not get you far either since they have to offer from what is on the government negotiated list of generics.

    Its like all things to get a good price you need volume being bought by a single party. The safety net that gives some people free medications in Australia gives the PBS more volume of purchase so better prices.

    Yes the Australian system gives pressure on drug makers to be under $6.30 a fortnight and any drug that is under that is likely to be listed in the generics because does not come out the government pockets for anyone other than real low income.

    Really with how it pays back with reduced hospitalization and how it helps in negotiations pharma companies with having complex calculator for when drugs are free or massively reduced is not worth it.

    Study the Australian system and it really does show you how to implement a working and over all cost saving drug supply system.

    With how the system works it really make no sense not to have it. People needing drugs to stay alive cannot negotiate effectively. But a PBS with thresholds and generics list force pharma companies to be completive with each other what pushes the price of the complete drug supply market down so best price does not require customer to negotiate since the government has done that.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-25/mylan-epipen-us-prices-hikes-unlikely-to-happen-in-australia/7784700

    This is real example of what PBS does. Over the counter price of epipen of $100 AUD twin pack did not move because if it did the Australian government PBS would threaten to change providers. Yet exactly the same drug in twin pack was going for $600 USD. So more 6 times as much for exactly the same thing.

    Living in a country with a PBS or equal results in the over the counter price of many drugs being many times higher than what they should be so more people cannot afford the drugs they need. People not affording drugs they need cause other problems.

    Yes USA insurance companies hid the over the counter rises for a long time as they don’t have the regulations to have a generic list and have pharmacist provide cheapest alternative.

    Do note the $38 dollars a year for 2 for everyone with a medical condition who could need EpiPen why because it reduces hospitalization cost. The $62 paid by the government per year per person with medical condition requiring it works out to be cost neutral 10 uses by people who would not have had one otherwise due to reduced complications.

    Australian government drug supply system is doing cost evaluations all the time and would in fact give a drug away for free to everyone if the cost saving in hospital time could be proven. The process does maintain a lot of downwards force on medication prices.

  14. Grece says:

    Canada is known for its “free” healthcare, so long as you pay-up yearly, and know for its extremely long-wait times to see doctors.

    My heart examinations, I can schedule that week and walk-in that week, pay the physician $200 and be on my way. The process I use is impossible in Canada.

  15. Some nut wrote, “The obscene absurdity of paying extra and the even greater absurdity of defending such nonsense would cause blood to boil over here”.

    Ever heard of deductibles for auto-insurance or MediCare? It’s the same thing. The only downside is that I don’t know what the threshold is so it’s always a surprise to me when PharmaCare kicks in… a bit like Christmas falling at some random date without warning. At my age, surprises can be dangerous. 🙁 Sure, they have a web-app for that but the required data is not available until months into the fiscal year, so all I have is an estimate. I estimate that I’m clear for the rest of this year…

    …and we don’t pay extra. Canadians save tons of money because of MediCare and PharmaCare. RTFA Governments get pharma companies to bid against each other and the lowest bid gets to be on the list of approved pharmaceuticals so there is a gross and individual savings. It’s all good. Canadians spend half as much as USAians on healthcare and live longer. Consider that.

  16. oiaohm says:

    https://data.gov.au/dataset/pharmaceutical-benefits-scheme-pbs-item-report

    Grece funny right that Australia implementation does open data and uses a lot of open source. Drugs are on average cheaper in Australia at full price than at full price in the USA or Canada. Mostly because to win Australian government funding in the PBS requires handing over how much the drug really cost to make and how much was cost in R&D to calculate the sale price. So very much like FOSS where you can look at the source code and work out how many man hours most likely went into the production.

    $4.2 billion dollars worth of savings Canada would get running an Australian style PBS resulting in drug makers selling drugs with realistic mark-up that is still profitable for the drug makers to fund future research as well as pay share holders and also does not gouge the consumer.

    Also there are savings by reduced hospital usage because you don’t have as many people having to choose between food and drugs so having medical complications from either lack of food or missing drugs.

    The reality is a PBS in fact pays for itself between better deals with drug makers and reduced hospital usage it works out as 3 to 1. For every 1 dollar puts into the PBS in Australia they save 3 dollars in due to better drug price and reduced hospitalizations. With how them numbers are you really wonder why more countries don’t have it.

    Really the problem here is when you are sick you are not in a location to properly negotiate for a good price and if the government does not protect you at that time drug companies will take advantage of you.

  17. Grece says:

    Perhaps Pharmacare/MediCare should go with the FLOSS model Robert. It’s system whereby it works for the people and not create a slave-master type scenario.

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