Voices from our Region

We want to hear from you

What personal experiences have you had with the key issues facing our community, and what solutions do you believe would make a real difference?


Doctor Ilona Hale Praises Pharmacare 

March 2024 

Dr. Ilona Hale, long-time family practitioner and environmental health advocate based in Kimberley, enthusiastically received the recent news about the national Pharmacare program moving forward:

“This is a great win for our patients and for taxpayers. This program will finally provide a truly universal healthcare system that allows people equitable access to safe and effective treatment regardless of ability to pay - something most Canadians agree is important. More and more of my own patients are struggling to afford their medications and this leads to more illness, suffering and health care costs down the road. No one should have to choose between staying healthy or feeding their family. One study in Ontario found that more than 700 diabetic patients under the age of 65 were dying prematurely every year because they couldn’t afford to buy insulin.

The current system, a patchwork of provincial, federal and private medical insurance providers is plagued with inequities, inefficiencies, misdirected subsidies and uncomfortable conflicts of interest between government (Health Canada), prescribers and industry. We know that private healthcare consistently delivers poor health outcomes at high costs yet and right now a big part of our healthcare spending is delivered through private insurance companies whose interest is profit, not patients. Without a new model, Canadians will continue to pay more for their medication than people in most other countries. In New Zealand, for example, the cost to the system for a standard cholesterol medication is $15 per year; in Canada it is $811.  A national pharmacare program would eliminate many of these problems and allow us to have a single, evidence-based list of the most effective, affordable and appropriate medications available to consistently provide Canadians with the highest quality of care at a lower overall price tag through streamlining administration, eliminating existing subsidies and increasing purchasing power to negotiate lower drug costs.

I think this is one of the most powerful and positive policies to come forward in a long time. Some people are asking how we can afford to pay for this program but I don't think there is really any debate - it will save money and improve health. National pharmacare is something we should all be celebrating. When we take care of people, by investing in supporting their basic needs, like housing, food and healthcare, it allows them to flourish and achieve their full potential.”

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