I posted this on Facebook earlier today, after I left the pharmacy. After a few requests to make it public so friends could share, I did—and it seemed reasonable, 12 shares, 45 reactions and 59 comments later—many shocked that this happens in Canada—to post it on my blog, too.

—-

Do you know why Canada needs true national Pharmacare?
I do every day, but especially on days like today where I leave $642.01 behind at the pharmacy counter just to function for a month, for just 4 of my 7 meds. 

Did you know that despite being self employed and having two part time jobs, I can’t get insurance in Canada that covers medication for my preexisting conditions? Okay, actually I can, but it would cover $500 in medication: less than one tenth of my annual medication costs. Less than I just paid today. 

  • I can survive without Vyvanse for my severe ADHD, but I can’t thrive. That’s the expensive one, and it’s not an enhancer, just a sort-of equalizer. 
  • I require four different inhalers to manage my moderate-to-severe asthma. (One of those I’m on right now isn’t covered for asthma under Manitoba Pharmacare, so I pay out of pocket. Despite how well it works, I’ll switch it for another drug in not-winter to save money.) This is to BREATHE, which is not exactly optional.
  • Barring other radical intervention for my fibroids, I’ll need to stay on oral contraceptives for another several decades–and this is the only drug I may have a forseeable end date on. Despite my persistence, this is not optional. (And also, even if I were using them for contraception, does the province not realize paying for the pill for a decade is cheaper than probably just getting a baby born? Never mind making them a good human?)
  • Oh, and on top of the asthma medicine, I have allergic rhinitis, for which I consider the drugs “the optional ones”, but only because my sinuses aren’t super impairing–note, my doctors disagree with the optional-ness of daily nasal steroids, and support the use of singulair as an add on. 

I am productive and mostly healthy because I have these medicines. I’m lucky I can afford the deductible which is thrown at people like me in a lump sum at the beginning of the fiscal year. I will have another pharmacy trip or two where I leave a not-insignificant amount of money behind. Just because I can afford this now–with minimal expenses, living with my parents–doesn’t mean I’ll always be able to. 

Am I happy to have some provincial coverage? Yes. 
Do we need to do better? Unquestionably yes.

We need this for every person who needs to choose between food and medicine. For every person who cant financially handle a $500 emergency—40% of Canadians. For the parents who forgo their meds to let their kids play soccer–and for the ones who can’t play soccer because their parents need medicine. For every would be enterpreneur who could change the world but is stuck at a job because of benefits.

We need this to be a better Canada–that place where healthcare is a right because we take care of each other and we take pride in that. Except we stopped short, leaving patients who are still patients after they leave the doctors office often fighting to survive. We need more than “gap filling” solutions, we need Pharmacare for everyone, all the time. 

Canada, we can do better.

—-

Do you have a story about inadequate access to medication or medication coverage in Canada? Please SHARE IT so others know why this issue matters. One way you can share your story is to reach out to my friend Bill at FacesOfPharmacare.ca. You can also send your story to your Member of Parliament (find them here), and most importantly, VOTE in October for a candidate who supports a true national Pharmacare strategy for all Canadians.

I have one post sitting here that I failed to hit publish on, and another that is in progress. So instead, we get a 12 of 12. [This is blogging, ADHD style!]

http://i2.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5791/22138618522_2d7974206a.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

8:58 am. Crashed at my aunt’s this Thanksgiving (like usual). My cousin Dean is away at school, so I take his room. It is very dark. I like.

http://i2.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/638/22125338736_99c29943b6.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

12:16 pm. Lunch. I don’t really get where they see there is “more icing” in the more icing packets for toaster strudels.

http://i1.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5680/21529873983_501cd2ea0a.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

3:28 pm. Everybody goes for a car ride with a remote, right? This is what I was in charge of when my aunt was transporting a TV to my grandma’s. (Clearly nobody trusts me to not drop an oldschool TV?)

http://i0.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5819/22138357572_148e05245e.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

6:24 pm. My dad used the end of the whipped cream. I scraped the liquidy stuff off my pie and I was sad for a bit.

http://i2.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5710/22161161801_bbbb38dfe8.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

6:35 pm. So I did the dishes because I was no longer in any hurry to eat pumpkin pie. And then looked in the freezer for more whipped cream. And I found ice cream! Problem solved.

http://i2.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/769/22161176271_2e6b00f65f.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

6:47 pm. Realized advance polls were open on Thanksgiving Day. What kind of shenanigans are those?!

http://i1.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5836/21964065939_f82b5f4d87.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

7:02 pm. So then, I mean, I went to vote. I also convinced my mom to go vote. See also: curious placement of the voting sign above the AED and below the AED sign?

http://i2.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/661/22150946505_4d88388502.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

7:06 pm. Obligatory voting selfie, excited edition. You know how much time it takes to vote on Thanksgiving Day? About three minutes. There was one person ahead of me. Thankful for democracy.

http://i0.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5776/21528161994_01a44af179.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

7:07 pm. Classy voting dumpster? By the way, we left home, voted, and returned home in thirteen minutes.

http://i1.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5648/22124784446_2052b10bbd.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

7:37 pm. Of course upon returning home, I was almost immediately greeted by a political Facebook ad. Let’s just say I didn’t vote for either of these guys, and I didn’t know I even had a Green candidate in the area.

http://i0.wp.com/farm6.staticflickr.com/5793/22150982695_f1b73cd96e.jpg?resize=500%2C375&ssl=1

9:14 pm. Why does TripIt even try to tell me the weather for six months from now?

http://i1.wp.com/farm1.staticflickr.com/570/21964091189_54ff1dc185.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1

10:12 pm. Then I got an e-mail from the library that I could check out Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison electronically. So obviously after that happened I did nothing but read until 2 am.