Millions of Canadians cannot afford one or more of their prescription drugs last year, but a St. Michael’s investigator leads a study that perhaps provides an answer.
The CLEAN Meds study was one of two lists of essential medicines that the report recommends the Canadian Drug Agency use as a starting point for determining which drugs should be funded for all Canadians.
The study tested the effects of providing patients with free and convenient access to a carefully selected set of medications. It was a randomized controlled trial where half of the participants are randomly put into the group that gets free medications, while the other half are randomly put into the group that has their usual access to medications. By comparing people in the two groups the researchers could determine the effects of free and convenient access to medications on whether or not people take their medications as instructed, whether the medications are prescribed properly, how well diseases are controlled and costs.
The lead investigator from St. Michael’s expressed in the interview a clear interpretation of the problem—people are suffering because they cannot afford prescription. Canadians should receive needed medicines with the same health card that allows them to visit their family doctor or see a doctor at a hospital. The researchers seek pharmacare for all in Canada. Follow the link to read the entire interview.