(Submitted photo)

‘Pharmacare’ fails to hit budget, again

To the Editor,

Promised universal medication coverage (though it would likely be for generic-brand only) is again conspicuously missing from a federal Liberal budget, as it has been with some past grit governments.

After the last promise was made, following the 2019 election, the pharmaceutical industry reacted with threats of abandoning their Canada-based research and development (R&D) if the federal government went ahead with the plan. Why? Because universal “pharmacare” would negatively affect the industry’s plentiful profits. Of course profits would still be great, just not as great, which bothers the industry greatly.

In late 2019, an Angus Reid study found that about 90 per cent of Canadians — including three quarters of Conservative Party supporters specifically — champion universal medication coverage. Another 77 per cent believed this should be a high-priority matter for the federal government.

The same study found that, over the previous year, due to medication unaffordability, almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of respondents decided against filling a prescription or having one renewed.

Not only is medication less affordable, but many low-income outpatients who cannot afford to fill their prescriptions end up back in the hospital system thus costing far more for provincial and federal government health ministries than if the generic-brand medication was covered.

In order for the industry to continue raking in huge profits, Canadians, as both individual consumers and a taxpaying collective, must lose out huge. And our elected representatives, be they federal Liberals or Conservatives, seem to shrug their figurative shoulders in favour of big corporate interests — yet again.

Considering it is such a serious health affair for so many people, impressed upon me is the industry lobbyists’ potent influence on our top-level elected officials for the sake of large profit-margin interests. Frankly, I find it to be plainly immoral lobbyist manipulation that our mainstream news-media apparently fail to even try to expose, let alone condemn.

Frank Sterle Jr.

White Rock, B.C.

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