Dr. Nav Persaud:
When Advocacy Leads to Change
“A program such as this where that burden is alleviated, it does a lot more than just help you stay afloat financially. The stress that is relieved is a huge benefit. It allows you to have peace of mind. And if you have peace of mind you can build on that.” -CLEAN Meds participant
Imagine having access to a universal health care system but you are unable to treat your condition due to financial burdens. Unfortunately, Canada is one of the only advanced economies with a universal health care system that excludes universal coverage of prescription drugs.
In January 2016, PSI awarded Dr. Nav Persaud, of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the 2016 Graham Farquharson Knowledge Translation Fellowship. With a focus on addressing health inequalities, Dr. Persaud launched the CLEAN Meds project to assess how better access to life saving medications for people with low incomes might improve health, control disease, and save Canadians billions of dollars annually.
Dr. Persaud’s recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicates that if Canada had a national strategy for publicly funding essential medicines, patients and private drug sponsors would save $3 billion. With four hundred patients currently enrolled in the CLEAN Meds project, measuring the health effects of providing patients with free access to essential medicines who could not previously afford them will be instrumental in shaping public policy.
In May 2018, Dr. Persaud will share the results with public decision makers in the hope that they will pay attention to research findings and views of Canadians to publicly fund a minimal list of essential medicines.
For more information, please click on the following links:
http://cleanmeds.ca/study/about-clean-meds/ - About CLEAN Meds
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5325730/pdf/189e295.pdf - Estimated effects of adding universal public coverage of an essential medicines list to existing public drug plans in Canada
http://cmajopen.ca/content/5/1/E137.full - Development of a preliminary essential medicines list for Canada
http://bit.ly/2mpPwhf - The argument for providing 'essential medicines' for free in Canada
http://on.thestar.com/2nyz2Do - Government drug coverage could save Canadians ‘billions,’ study finds
http://huff.to/2nvaCs6 - Essential medicines must be available to all Canadians
http://bit.ly/2mmsaEY - Huge potential savings from public coverage of essential medicines in Canada