Without a universal prescription drug plan, coverage in Canada vastly differs depending on where you live. Regionally, Atlantic Canada has among the lowest rates of access to prescription medications in the country. In Newfoundland, even publicly-funded programs require dispensing fees or co-payments, which have proven to reduce access.
- 26 percent of Atlantic Canadians don’t take their medications as prescribed because they can’t afford to.
- Public spending in Newfoundland and Labrador covers less than half the cost of prescription medicine.
- Of the 236,200 in the province working either full or part-time, an estimated one in three – 78,333 – don’t have health benefits.
- In Canada, only about 27 percent of part-time workers have prescription drug coverage.This means that in 2015, about three quarters of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 34,700 part-time workers didn’t have prescription drug coverage.
- The province’s 65Plus Plan for low-income seniors still charges a $6 dispensing fee on prescriptions.
- Even charges as low as $2 have been found to be a barrier to taking medication as prescribed.
- The Access Plan for low-income residents requires co-payments ranging from 20 to 70 percent of total prescription costs, depending on annual income.
This patchwork coverage leaves many Newfoundlanders without access to the medication they need, either because they don’t have a prescription drug plan or have plans that don’t cover the cost.
Everyone should have equal access to the prescription drugs they need regardless of where they live. It’s time for a universal prescription drug plan.