Response to the Liberal Party of Canada Announcement Regarding Catastrophic Drug Coverage for Canadians

    OTTAWA, Sept. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Yesterday, the Liberal Party of Canada
announced a $900 million plan for catastrophic drug coverage, as part of the
party's federal election campaign.
    Members of the Health Charities Coalition of Canada responded, saying
they are pleased that health care is becoming an election issue.
    In a 2006 position paper, the HCCC highlighted the need for Canadians to
have affordable access to safe and effective prescription drugs, devices and
supplies, regardless of where they live in Canada.

    HCCC members emphasize:

    We believe that Canadians should have access to the most appropriate
medications to address their health issues; this includes catastrophic drugs
    Where you live in Canada should not dictate whether or not you have
access to the most appropriate medications, as is currently the case
    Ability to pay for medications should not determine access, as is
currently the case
    In addition to provincial and territorial governments, the federal
government must also work with patients and patient groups when developing
policies to address issues of access and equitability
    The following principles should be incorporated into any plan that
addresses catastrophic and other drug coverage:


    The process of developing, implementing, and evaluating access should be
visible and accessible to all Canadians and must respect Canadians' right to
make informed choices about their health needs.


    The process must provide all interested Canadians opportunities for
meaningful involvement in the development, implementation, and ongoing
evaluation. The federal government must be responsible for ensuring all
provinces and territories are able to participate fully and equitably in any
plan related to catastrophic drug coverage.


    The health, economic, and social outcomes of any catastrophic drug plan
must be regularly reported to Canadians.


    Any plan must ensure safe and timely access for Canadians who need
prescription drugs for their health, while at the same time ensuring the
appropriate use of government funds.


    Access to catastrophic drugs (and other prescription drugs, devices and
supplies) must not depend on where Canadians live in our Country.


    The federal government must base its policies and decisions on the best
available evidence and must ensure that Canadian experts who have been
involved in developing evidence-based guidelines are included in the
decision-making process.


    The purpose of the any catastrophic drug plan must be to increase
Canadians' ability to access the prescription drugs, devices and supplies they
need to live healthy lives.
    The Health Charities Coalition of Canada will continue to work with the
federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure that this vision and
these principles are integrated into new policies that will provide better
access to catastrophic drug coverage, as well as coverage for other necessary
and appropriate prescription drugs, devices and supplies.

    The Health Charities Coalition of Canada (HCCC) is a collective
    authoritative voice of national health charities in public policy and
    health research issues that affect the health of all Canadians. See
    attached for a list of our members.

    The HCCC is supported by our 25 members:

    Alzheimer Society
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Canada (ALS Canada)
    The Arthritis Society
    Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
    Canadian Cancer Society/National - Cancer Institute of Canada
    Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
    Canadian Diabetes Association
    Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research
    Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
    Canadian Lung Association
    Canadian Liver Foundation
    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada
    Easter Seals Canada
    The Foundation Fighting Blindness
    The Hearing Foundation of Canada
    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
    Huntington Society of Canada
    The Kidney Foundation of Canada
    Muscular Dystrophy Canada
    Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
    Osteoporosis Canada
    Ovarian Cancer Canada
    Parkinson Society Canada
    Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Canada

For further information:

For further information: Scott Dudgeon via: Patricia Wilkinson, Manager,
Media and Government Relations, Alzheimer Society of Canada, Office: (416)
847-2959, Mobile: (416) 669-5715,; Deirdre Freiheit,
Executive Director, Health Charities Coalition of Canada, Office: (613)
232-7266, Mobile: (613) 794-5677,

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