Before breaking for the summer, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology considered weakening the patent regulations that support Canadas pharmaceutical market. Now, prompted by public-sector unions, the Competition Bureau will look at whether pharmaceutical patents are anti-competitive. These investigations have only one result: to harm international investors confidence in Canadas will to protect intellectual property. Furthermore, history suggests that if they succeed in weakening patents, drug costs are unlikely to come down.
July 17, 2003 2:00AM
May 6, 2003 2:00AM
The newspapers and airwaves are filled with people fuming about Fair Pharmacare. There are three major complaints (other than the challenge of getting through to Pharmacare to register). Firstly, that Fair Pharmacare forces patients to pay more of their own money for prescriptions. Secondly, that the requirement to report your income is a violation of privacy. Thirdly, that it is inappropriate to use income from 2001 to determine benefits in 2003.
February 27, 2003 2:00AM
The provincial government has finally decided to cut back on one small area of health spending, by significantly increasing user fees for Pharmacare. Although many British Columbians are under the misapprehension that the Liberal government cut back health care spending, spending increased the day it took over from the NDP.
December 4, 2002 2:00AM
Faced with a crowd of 2,000 seniors protesting in front of the provincial legislature last Tuesday, the provincial government reneged on its commitment to a means test for Pharmacare benefits. This is a bad sign. Seniors currently pay a maximum 75 cents a day ($275 per year) for prescription drugs that are listed by Pharmacare, and taxpayers pick up the rest. If the government is afraid to take the baby step of means testing for Pharmacare, it is unlikely to make more significant reforms that are necessary to improve health care in British Columbia.
October 4, 2002 2:00AM
In his opinion about reforming Pharmacare on October 3, Victor Vrsnik, of the usually sensible Canadian Taxpayers Federation, resurrected the fantasy of a national pharmacare plan. He supposes that the purchasing power of the federal government would somehow lead to lower prices. This is a surprising statement from the CTF, which has done great work exposing how incompetent the government is at purchasing other goods.
March 7, 2002 2:00AM
That reports introduction reveals the futility of the task: a one-person, time-limited Commission cannot address every conceivable issue affecting the future of health care in Canada. Take one man, add a budget of over $15 million, solicit the views of every interest group in the land for ten months, and the best youre going to get is a vague statement of indecision.