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Patient Groups Meet to Discuss Access to Medications

Best Medicines Coalition represents more than 12 million Canadians

June 3, 2003

Patients and consumers are meeting in Toronto tomorrow to develop a patient strategy surrounding access to medications both federally and provincially.

The federal and Ontario governments are developing critically important approaches for access to medications without the necessary input from those most affected by the decisions -- the patient.

The Best Medicines Coalition (BMC), a grassroots group of consumer and advocate organizations representing more than 12 million Canadians. The BMC is committed to people-centred access to the best medicines for all Canadians and to consumer participation, transparency and accountability.

Patients who have experienced federal and provincial delays in access to medications will be available for comment.

Patient and consumer forum: Consumer Engagement and Access to Best Medicines.

To develop a consumer strategy for Common Drug Review as well as the current drug strategy review in Ontario

Wednesday, June 4, 2003
1:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto, Ontario

"Accessing a drug should not be determined by where you live in Canada. The Common Drug Review adds a layer of bureaucracy to an already delayed system. Even after a drug makes it through Health Canada and the CDR, it must then be approved on a provincial formulary," said Dr. Kathy Kovacs Burns, co-chair of the Best Medicines Coalition and a volunteer with the National Advocacy Council of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Simply put too many layers,   too much confusion and too many delays."

Members of the Best Medicines Coalition include: The Arthritis Society, the Canadian Diabetes Association, The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada, Arthritis Consumer Experts, the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus, Hepatitis C Network, HepCURE and Yellowhead Tribal Council (representing First Nations groups). Please visit to download copies of the BMC response to Common Drug Review and the Ontario Drug Benefit.

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