A letter writer argues statements by the provincial health minister are inaccurate

A letter writer argues statements by the provincial health minister are inaccurate

Too many drugs, not enough money

In reality, the number of people living with chronic, untreated health problems is going to grow.

Re: “Shunning medicine in order to save cash,” The Leader, Jan. 24.

This article reveals something that I have been struggling with for about three years: too many drugs and not enough money to buy them.

I suspected that I wasn’t the only one who skips doses and puts off buying more when the funds are low or non-existent. Actually, I’m surprised that the percentages aren’t higher.

In reality, the number of people living with chronic, untreated health problems is going to grow.

What I take issue with, however, are the comments by Health Minister Mike de Jong.

“Prescription drug costs are entirely covered with no deductible for more than 270,000 low-income patients in B.C.,” he asserts. Sounds impressive. As long as those patients use the “approved” drugs.

For example, you’re a patient who is unable to tolerate a particular drug that’s covered, but can take a similar one that isn’t on the “magic” list. Well, you pay, take the one that makes you sick, or take nothing.

The government puts a dollar limit on each prescription. If the total amount is more than what they will pay (due to higher dispensing fees or drug cost increases), the patient has to pay the difference.

I am on a provincial disability. I have a number of health issues that need treatment. In this article, the minister of health claims that people on social assistance “pay nothing out of pocket.”

This is untrue.

Some prescription drugs are not covered because they have been removed from the “magic” list for one reason or another, most likely cutbacks. Other medications that were once available only by prescriptions are now over-the-counter. Therefore, I have to pay for them.

As the article ends, de Jong is still sputtering what he hopes are positives that will detract from the issues at hand, pointing out that B.C. “provides more extensive drug coverage on many fronts.” What does he mean exactly and can he provide examples?

It makes me feel so much better that Mr. de Jong vows, “We need to take a close look.”

Sounds like the usual response from a government minister who has no solutions and won’t be taking a close look.

 

Christene Fitzgerald

Surrey North Delta Leader

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