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Canadians having trouble paying for prescription drugs

Excerpts from Canadian research (Angus Reid & Mindset Foundation) published in July, 2015

  • Nearly one-quarter of Canadians say they or someone in their home can't afford prescribed drugs and are splitting pills and skipping doses to make the medicine go further – or not renewing or even filling prescriptions, according to a new poll.
  • In addition, 36 per cent of the Canadians surveyed reported they have friends or family members who are having trouble paying their drug costs; Atlantic Canadians and British Columbians struggle the most. The Angus Reid Institute poll also found that one in five Canadians spend $500 or more a year on prescriptions – and nearly half of those surveyed are worried they won't be able to afford the drug costs 10 years from now.
  • "We have known in the past that approximately one in 10 Canadians doesn't fill their prescriptions ... because of the cost of the prescription to the family". "What we now know is this affects nearly one in four families in Canada."
  • More than 23 per cent of respondents said that in the last 12 months they or someone in their home did not "take their medicines as prescribed because of cost." Fourteen per cent said they did not fill a prescription; 10 per cent did not renew one, and 15 per cent said they cut pills or skipped doses.
  • The survey found that 29 per cent of British Columbians do not take their drugs because of costs.

The Angus Reid Institute, a non-partisan, not-for-profit polling organization, joined ranks with Vancouver-based Mindset Foundation, a Canadian charity that has been commissioning research on problems of accessing medicine for the last six years, to take a comprehensive look at the issue. Both organizations contributed equally in the project.

The poll of 1,556 Canadians was conducted between July 2 and 6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 (Angus Reid).

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