When government proposes that they have the fix for rising pharmacy costs for the average Canadian within the next decade, color someone who works in the employee group benefit arena skeptical.
According to Fraser Institute, the median waiting time for a specialist appointment continues to escalate year over year. It’s now 19.8-weeks of waiting and that’s just the appointment. From appointment to treatment is a further 11-weeks. Note, these wait times encompass more than 1,082,541 treatments across ten provinces.
Added to this, access to the diagnostic technologies continues to run over long with a wait time of 4.3-weeks for a CT scan, 10.6-weeks for an MRI.
Recently, the federal government announced the final amendments to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board regulations. This estimate proposes reforms cited to save Canadians about $13 billion in the next decade and lay the foundation for national pharmacare. However, it is said that the national pharamcare will offer coverage for approximately 5,000 drugs. Compare that to any private benefit plan which allows employees access to more than 11,000 pharmaceuticals and we can see that a national program falls substantially short.
However, should this new reform work in tandem with existing plans, then I think we will be able to achieve real savings and actual improvement for every Canadian with medical needs. I guess we’ll wait and see.
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