What will Nanaimo candidates do to make prescriptions more affordable?

We sent MLA candidates your election questions. Here’s what we heard.

“What are the candidates platforms with regards to affordable prescriptions and are there plans to address this with the federal government?” That’s a question The Discourse heard after we asked what questions you have for provincial election candidates. 

We sent the question to candidates in the Nanaimo riding. BC Liberal candidate Kathleen Jones did not respond to the request by the deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.

The Discourse is offering pop-up election coverage in Nanaimo based on feedback from residents. Sign up to get our stories straight to your inbox. If enough people want us to continue in-depth coverage in Nanaimo, we’ll stick around. 

Lia Versaevel, BC Green Party

There is an over-reliance in medicine on prescriptions, and our focus must shift to a
wellness mode, instead of focusing on illness, and trying to cure with chemistry what a
healthier lifestyle could have prevented. In situations where there is no alternative, however, there should never have to be a choice made between paying one’s essential expenses like shelter, food, and utilities, or buying prescription medications. People who qualify for MSP in BC must also have access to prescriptions as and when needed. A basic guaranteed liveable income will address some of this, but we must be creative in considering pharmacare for all. As Paul Manly stated in his response to the Throne Speech this week, “Canada is the only country in the world with public health care and no universal public system for providing prescription drugs (pharmacare)”. The price of drugs must be controlled by the government. Currently the same medication can vary in price by thousands of dollars. The USA pays the most for pharmaceuticals, while Thailand pays the least. We must bring in a system to regulate
the price of medications. Our Fair Pharmacare is only for those who fall below the poverty line, and can barely afford the necessities of life. The most prescribed drugs are those for high blood pressure, which can be regulated by lifestyle choices as well. We must encourage doctors to adopt a wellness model, and support patients in changing to a plant-based diet, getting more exercise, and reducing stress.

Sheila Malcolmson, BC NDP

Instead of working to make health care more affordable for people in B.C., the
former BC Liberal government increased fees for everything in the health care
system that they could get away with – meanwhile seniors and low to medium
income families struggled to afford the prescription medicines they needed.
When the BC NDP formed government in 2017 we made different choices. In
addition to eliminating unfair MSP premiums, we reduced or eliminated
Pharmacare deductibles and co-payments for almost a quarter-million British
Columbians; we held a leading role in the national Generics 2.0 agreement to lower
costs of the most commonly prescribed drugs in Canada; and we expanded the use
of biosimilars – which cost anywhere from 25 to 50% less than the bioengineered
version of the drugs – using the savings to expand Pharmacare coverage to include
more drugs.

If re-elected, we will continue to work to bring the cost of prescription drugs down,
by continually reviewing cost thresholds and drug eligibility, in particular for low-
and-middle income individuals. We will also make female prescription
contraception – like the pill and IUDs – free for everyone in B.C. [end]

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