The Ontario NDP’s “Change for the Better” election platform released on April 16 promises universal drug coverage by 2020 for approximately 125 essential medicines commonly prescribed for conditions such as diabetes. However, any list must ensure people with diabetes have access to the medications that allow them to best manage their diabetes.
“By proposing universal drug coverage for commonly prescribed medications for Ontarians, the NDP recognizes that diabetes is not age specific,” said Amanda Thambirajah, director of government relations in Ontario for Diabetes Canada. “Having said that, the list of 125 essential medicines must enable people with diabetes to access the medication that best helps them ensure their blood sugar levels stay within their target range.”
Being unable to afford and therefore follow prescribed diabetes therapy increases the risk for developing costly and life-threatening diabetes-related complications, such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and depression.
An estimated 1 in 3 Ontarians live with diabetes or prediabetes – approximately 4.3 million people. The number of people with diabetes and prediabetes is expected to rise by 30 per cent over the next 10 years, with the cost to the health-care system increasing from $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion.
This epidemic is why Diabetes Canada is calling for a renewed Ontario Diabetes Strategy that sets aggressive targets and goals to help improve health outcomes for people with diabetes and people at risk of developing the disease.
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