Drug Spending in Canada Consuming Health Resources

by John McKiggan

Total drug spending in Canada is estimated to have reached $26.9 billion in 2007, according to figures released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

The report states that since 1985 drug expenditure has consumed an increasing share of Canada’s health care dollar. In 2007, spending on drugs is expected to have reached $26.9 billion, representing 16.8% of total health care spending. Among major categories of health expenditure, drugs account for the second largest share, after hospitals.

This represents an increase of approximately $2 billion over 2006.

With our population getting older the need for prescription medication is only going to increase. It stands to reason that in a few years drug spending is going to consume huge portions of provincial health care dollars.

What can we do about it?

I think the only solution is a radical change in our method of health care delivery. Currently our health care system focusing on treating patients once they have become ill. In other words, when it is most difficult and most expensive to treat the problem.

We need to change the focus of health care to preventive medicine and promoting healthy living. In other words, making sure Canadians don’t get sick (or get sick less often) so that they won’t need expensive medical care to treat acute medical emergencies.

What do you think?

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