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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge mom wants justice on two-year anniversary of daughter’s death

Megan Kinnee, 19, died July 13, 2018 after motorcycle crash in Abbotsford

Popular retired UFV therapy dog passes away

Mac the Therapy Dog consoled countless students and staff, as well as wildfire victims

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

MS Bike fundraiser goes virtual in midst of pandemic

Fraser Valley event in Abbotsford and Langley among those usually held every year

PHOTOS: Readers are proud of their cats

Abbotsford News asked people to share photos of their feline friends as part of National Kitten Day

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read