VIDEO: High prescription drug costs hinder access for seniors: UBC study

Research suggests one in 12 older adults in Canada stopped filling prescriptions because of high prices.



One in 12 Canadians aged 55 and older stopped filling their prescriptions because they were too expensive, suggests a new study out of UBC.

The research, released Wednesday, draws on data from a 2014 survey of older adults in 11 high-income countries, including the Unites States, Australia, Germany, and Sweden.

The survey ranked Canada second for most people in that age group skipping prescriptions because of the cost, at a rate of 8.3 per cent.

Steve Morgan, UBC public health professor and senior author of the study, said these numbers are far higher compared to rates in similar countries, where fewer than four per cent of survey respondents reported skipping prescriptions due to cost.

The U.S. had the highest rate of skipped prescriptions, at a rate 16.8 per cent.

Canada is the only country among those with publicly funded healthcare systems that does not have coverage for prescription drugs, the study says.

In a separate analysis, the researchers found that the rate is lower for Canadians aged 65 and up, with one in 20 people in that group not filling prescriptions. This group qualifies for public drug coverage in many provinces.

In B.C., the provincial Medical Services Plan doesn’t base coverage on age, but on income from two years’ prior.

Those earning less than $15,000 a year receive 70-per-cent coverage for each prescription filled.

See PharmaCare assistance levels of coverage here.

Funding gaps in prescriptions cost healthcare system: prof

Canadians struggling to afford their medications might be cutting their pills, skipping doses, or looking to other ways to manage conditions without drugs, Morgan said, adding that gaps in funding prescription drugs are a barrier that is actually costing the healthcare system.

“When patients stop filling their prescriptions, their conditions get worse and they often end up in hospital requiring more care which in the long run costs us more money.”

He said the 2014 findings were consistent with studies that date back a decade.

“Despite many years of high-profile attention to the access barriers in Canada’s healthcare system, the problem hasn’t gone away. We do not have a system of universal coverage in Canada and it’s resulting in very many Canadians not filling their prescriptions that have been written for them.”


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Jacob Tremblay tells Langley film fest about playing a boy with facial differences

It was a long stay in a makeup chair, but it could have been even longer

Langley Rivermen inviting fans to anti-bullying painting party

Come down to George Preston Recreation Centre Wednesday night to take stand against bullying

Update: Eyewitnesses kept driver who hit Langley pedestrian from fleeing (with video)

Police issue tickets for multiple offences after Sunday incident

VIDEO: A Langley man travels coast-to-coast to honour Canada’s national symbol

The “Beaver appreciation tour” was timed for country’s 150th birthday

Update: Police report “physical altercation” during Langley gas station holdup (with video)

Incident on Glover Road involving armed robber draws massive police response

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Fallen cedar knocks out Otter area power

Strong gusts of wind caused an entire cedar to split off and crash into power lines

Aldergrove U18 soccer boys keep on win streak

Aldergrove’s boys prevailed in this game and have a 8 win, 1 tie and 2 loss record

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Most Read