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Diabetes Group Asks For Federal Drug Plan

Editor's Note: This article is reprinted from the Winnipeg Free Press, December 7, 2005.

The Canadian Diabetes Association will today call on the federal government to develop a national drug plan to relieve the financial burden on people with diabetes.

The association will release its Diabetes Report 2005 in Toronto this morning, which will show the cost of diabetes and its complications to the health-care system--including governments, private health insurance plans and patients--is $550,000 per day.

The CDA found a wide variation in the expenses people with diabetes face because each province covers drugs and diabetes equipment to different extents. A national drug plan will ensure Canadians with diabetes can afford to treat their illness and prevent complications, regardless of where they live, the association says.

Manitoba has the best coverage among the provinces for patients in low-income brackets. For instance, a Manitoban earning $15,000 a year, will spend out of pocket an average of $336.40 a year on diabetes expenses--for things such as insulin, syringes or blood-testing equipment and supplies. In Newfoundland, the same patient would be forced to spend over a quarter of their income--$3,639--on diabetes expenses each year.

However, Manitoba doesn't stack up as well for middle-income earners. A patient earning $55,000 a year in Manitoba would personally pay $2,224, the fifth-highest amount. Quebec had the best coverage at that income level, with a patient earning $55,000 spending $1,460.49.

The report will also show the rate of diabetes is growing much faster in Manitoba than the national average.

C. Winnipeg Free Press. Reprinted with permission.

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