Oct 01 2012
For Immediate Distribution
October 1, 2012, Victoria – The Green Party of BC is concerned that the decision by the BC Liberal government to suspend funding to the Therapeutics Initiative represents another transfer of public good to the private sector. To a large extent, the inability of governments to control health care costs relates to the steady and unexamined growth in spending on pharmaceuticals. Cancelling research project funding into the effectiveness and safety of drugs is short sighted especially given the BC Liberals’ decision to allow more industry participation in the approval of drugs.
“Believing the pharmaceutical industry should have a greater role in decisions as to which drugs are covered and for what conditions is a very worrisome but consistent with the BC Liberals distorted view of free enterprise,” says Jane Sterk, leader of the Green Party of BC.
“The Therapeutics Initiative (TI) has saved BC taxpayers money and provided British Columbians with a level of assurance that the drugs that are prescribed are effective.”
“Pharmaceutical companies are noted for their ability to influence practitioners’ drug prescription decisions. Without TI to provide oversight and actual research into drug safety, the costs of Pharmacare will accelerate even faster.”
“The loss of TI research funding is tied somehow to the still unexplained firings of Ministry of Health researchers by the Health Minister. BC Greens worry that the decision to suspend funding for TI is an intended and conscious casualty flowing out of that investigation.”
“The longer the minister fails to provide more information about the probe at the Ministry of Health and the loss of funding for TI, the more likely it is that people will assume industry influence is somehow at play.”
“A Green Government would increase independent research and oversight as part of a plan for major reform of the health care system in BC. We are not a party that supports industry providing the research into the effectiveness of their product or pharmaceutical companies participating in the decisions as to what drugs get approved for use in BC.”
“Further, we believe we need to determine how we can keep people well and reduce the overall amount of prescription drugs that are used in the health care system. That likely means looking at the relationship between drug companies and medical practitioners and drug companies and the government,” concludes Sterk.
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