Friday, October 20, 2006

The wrong prescription

While there's been plenty of well-deserved outrage about the Cons' refusal to do anything to meaningfully improve the environment, there's been far too little over their active steps to make health care worse by making pharmaceuticals more expensive:
Yesterday’s changes to pharmaceutical regulations will hit Canadians right in their pocketbook, says the NDP Critic for Health.

Penny Priddy, MP (Surrey North) was reacting to the Conservatives’ announcement that name-brand drug companies will be now be granted eight years of exclusive selling rights — up from the previous five years.

“The Conservatives have given an early Christmas gift to their friends in the big drug companies,” said Priddy. “These changes mean today’s families will pay higher costs for prescription drugs, and for a longer period of time.”

Priddy quoted the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association’s estimate that the Conservatives’ changes would have added $600-million to drug costs had they been in effect over the past five years.
It's worth noting that while some consumers will feel the pain, a good chunk of the costs will be borne by governments - particularly those provinces which have been forward-thinking enough to provide meaningful drug plans for their citizens. And now that the Cons have deliberately raised prices for no reason but to appease big pharma, there's no longer any reason for hope that they might see the light about the value of trying to reduce costs through a national plan.

We'll have to wait and see how long it takes the party which is working to increase health care costs to then complain that the costs are unsustainable. But it's clear that the Cons are doing their best to undermine affordable health care without attracting public attention - and that they can't be allowed to get away with it.

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