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Monday, September 13, 2004

My b.p. rises just thinking about it

A must-read for the quiet moments before the first ministers' conference on healthcare: the Medical Post brings up one good reason why estimates of the cost of public-funded pharmacare shouldn't be trusted. As if you didn't know they shouldn't be trusted--but still...

CHARLOTTETOWN – One of North America's leading clinical pharmacologists told FPs at the [Conjoint Scientific Assembly of the Maritime Chapters of the College of Family Physicians of Canada] that information from recent statin studies, coupled with what may emerge from current research, could see the drug used so widely in Canada it could become a public health issue.

"If you estimate that only one-third of those who should be taking statins are taking statins, you can say goodbye to everything else being talked about at this meeting because statins will totally dominate the pharmacare program," she said.

"I mentioned the costs are about a hundred bucks a month, so if you talk about 10 or 12 million Canadians taking statins you can begin to think what the costs are. What are we going to give up?..."

Statins are a very popular new class of cholesterol-reducing drugs. As I understand it, it's now suspected (though not universally) that there is a sound medical justification for nearly everybody to be taking them, because their inferential effects on reducing cardiac risk seem to hold up at pretty well all cholesterol levels. In short, what we've got here, if you believe the hype, is an exceedingly expensive drug that anyone can claim a need for. If we already had comprehensive pharmacare across the country, this would potentially be its Perfect Storm. Instead, we're sitting on the dock looking pretty seriously at taking out the boat despite the weather reports.

Posted by Colby Cosh on September 13, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Apologetic editing note: there should be another ellipsis after the first paragraph of the indented quote.

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2004-09-13 7:40:44 AM

My pinko b.p. rises as well...at this boondoggle of a social entitlement that does not begin to address the fundamental problems of health care while costing way too much to be sustainable for any length of time. And already the posturing has begun; witness Charest and the usual "unconditionally give us more money or else".

Did Saskatchewan not try a drug plan in the 80s or 90s? And if it was too rich for that province's fiscal blood, surely it'll break banks nationwide.

Posted by: Jane | 2004-09-13 11:12:35 AM

Perhaps we should just tell people with high cholesterol to stop shoving crap foods into their pie holes? I'm guessing that would be a helluva lot cheaper than using free drugs to prop up bad lifestyles.

I used to have sky high cholesterol, then I changed my diet and started exercising more. I've lost 33 lbs since then as well.

Posted by: Sean | 2004-09-13 1:25:35 PM

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