Ready? Set? Mark your ballot
It’s that time of the year again! Prognosticators are predicting a federal election. Yes, it looks like we’ll be heading to the ballot boxes in the spring of 2007.
People with arthritis who depend on medications to maintain their quality of life will be interested in federal issues relating to the National Pharmaceutical Strategy (NPS) and Cross Boarder Internet Pharmacy (CBIP). The CAPA Steering Committee will be developing election messages to address the issues that will state what we need as patients/consumers and what we expect of candidates to win our vote. As readers of CAPA Voices know, the NPS is part of a 10-year plan to strengthen Canada’s healthcare system. Initially nine priorities were identified and they have been narrowed to five focus areas. They are:
- “Real World” drug safety and effectiveness
- Expensive drugs for rare diseases
- Drug pricing and purchasing
- Catastrophic drug coverage
- Common drug formulary
NPS strategy development involves Health Ministers from each province and is lead by representatives from British Columbia – a province with a poor reputation for reviewing and listing drugs on the provincial formulary. Although the development team states that consumers must be involved in the process, little is known about the status of the work currently being studied and consumers are not involved in the process. Both Dr. Kathy Kovacks Burns and Linda Wilhelm have written articles on the NPS. These appear in the March and June 2006 editions respectively.
Little has been written about CBIP in the last year. We had hoped that this matter had been resolved and no longer a threat to the Canadian supply of medications, however it has surfaced again. With the mid term election in the U.S., we saw the Democrats win control of the Senate which will allow them to fulfill a campaign promise to ensure Americans have access to affordable medications. If they win a majority in the 2008 election, CBIP will again be a threat to our supply of medications. CBIP is addressed in this issue of CAPA Voices by Linda Wilhelm. It was also addressed in the article, Canada cannot be the drugstore for the United States, in December 2004 edition.
Some provinces will also be heading to the polls in 2007. While provincial issues vary from province to province, many transcend provincial borders such as listing new drugs on provincial formularies, accessing drugs once they are listed, patient consumer involvement in research and policy decisions, and timely access to health care services and professionals.
Over the past few years CAPA has collaborated with the membership to develop important election messages and coordinate awareness strategies. We’ll do it again for the 2007 election and we urge you to become involved. Begin the process and become election-ready by telling us your healthcare concerns. We need to hear from you. What do you want your candidates to know?
Please share your thoughts on our discussion board.