Monday, March 19, 2007

Extra $1.4 billion earmarked for health care

Today's federal budget featured many spending initiatives, and pharmacy-related items were included. Most notable was a promise to provide $300 million to provinces to immunize women against the HPV virus. There was also a mention of $400 million to help support provincial development of electronic health records. A national pharmacare strategy was not proposed.

Both of these measures are welcomed. I am especially heartened to see the HPV vaccination cash. This should help speed up the process of having the provinces add Gardasil (and future HPV vaccines) to their immunization programs. The details are unclear at this point, but if you use $500 as a rough estimate of the cost of the three necessary Gardasil injections per patient, the $300 million should immunize 60,000 women.

From the Vancouver Sun:
The federal government announced an extra $1.4 billion for health care Monday to make progress on a patient wait times guarantee, establish a national mental health commission and launch a vaccination program to prevent cancer of the cervix.

The largest portion of the extra health money in the minority Conservative government's budget is in a three-year, $612-million fund for provincial and territorial governments that make "public commitments to implement a wait times guarantee" by the end of this month. ...more

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