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Poll : Burden Of Prescription Drugs Greater For People With Diabetes

Toronto, Ont.While a new poll released  by Angus Reid describes a heavy burden of prescription drug costs for Canadians, the CDA’s own research suggests that the burden is actually significantly greater for people living with diabetes.

Twenty-three per cent of the Angus Reid poll respondents indicated that either they or a household member did not take their medications as prescribed in the last 12 months because of the cost.

A 2011 CDA report noted that 57 per cent of surveyed people living with diabetes were unable to adhere to their therapies, including medications as prescribed, because of the cost. This report found that almost all Canadians with diabetes have catastrophic drug costs, totalling more than $1,500 or three percent of individual income per year.

Stacey Livitski of Thunder Bay knows all too well the personal cost of diabetes: “I’ve lived with type 1 diabetes for 33 years. My husband’s insurance through his employer provides some coverage, but many of my diabetes supplies are not covered by either public or private insurance. There have been times when I didn’t take the full dosage of my medications because I had to make them last longer due to cost. Unfortunately, the criteria for some public insurance programs put them out of reach for middle income earners, which means you have to choose between medications and other costs such as groceries.”

Dr. Jan Hux, the CDA’s Chief Science Officer said: “While we have  public and private prescription drug plans across Canada, it’s stunning that gaps in coverage mean that  high numbers of Canadians, and especially many of the 3.4 million with diabetes, cannot afford to take their medications or have to reduce the dose to make them last longer. This very high rate for people with diabetes who cannot adhere to prescribed therapies is because they often need multiple medications to manage their diabetes and related medical conditions, as well as the fact that many are in a lower socio-economic status.”

She continued: “People with diabetes who cannot afford their medications face high blood sugar levels that put them at significantly increased risk of serious complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.”

CDA calls on federal, provincial, and territorial governments to commit to a pan-Canadian pharmacare program to meet the needs of Canadians to manage their health, including diabetes and serious related complications.

About the CDA
The CDA is the registered national charity that helps the 10 million Canadians with diabetes or prediabetes live healthy lives, while also educating those at risk. In communities across Canada, the CDA:

  • offers a wide array of support services to members of the public;
  • offers resources to health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • advocates to governments, schools, workplaces and others on behalf of people with diabetes; and,
  • funds research on better treatments and to find a cure.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-BANTING FREE (226-8464).

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