Yesterday I reported on a new Fraser Institute study by Brett Skinner and Mark Rovere, noting that the existing government drug system does not serve poor people well and claiming that the best way to fix the system is to make it harder for Canada to check whether drugs are safe and harder for poor people to afford the drugs when they are proven safe. By the way, Skinner really is a doctor, as the study says, but he is a doctor of political science, not medicine. I pointed out that the study is ethically challenged, and now it’s time to tear the substance to shreds, too.
Before I go on, let me make clear that the Fraser Institute is talking about a real problem here. But it’s not the problem they’re discussing. Right now, Canadians do not receive fair and timely access to new medications — what the Cancer Advocacy Coalition has called a “postal code lottery.” Take lymphoma, for instance. There are six important new medications that can save or extend the lives of people with this form of cancer that have been introduced over the past 15 years. In BC, you might be prescribed any of four of these medications (the two newest ones are still in review). In Ontario, by contrast, you only qualify for two. Why?Tweet