Ashton on health care


Niki Ashton promises health care reform and floats the idea of a crown corporation charged with producing generic drugs.

Drugs consume the single largest portion of health care budgets, so “why not see the benefit of the drug production and drug consumption that we need in our system come back to us as Canadians?”

The real cost of making pharmaceuticals is much lower than the prices of even private generics on the market, so it would be possible to still produce much-needed drugs at a profit while offering a lower price than private companies, she said. This could both reduce health care costs and create a new revenue stream to pay for care, says Ashton. “We ought to be looking at innovative ways of making drug costs more affordable for our public health care system.”


Ashton on health care

  1. Every time I start to even think about maybe, possibly, perhaps voting NDP, that maybe it might be worth considering, that maybe they might bring some interesting ideas to the table, I read stuff like this. 

  2. And they wonder why the phrase “not fit to govern.”  keeps being used.    Stupid, stupid NDP.

  3. Excellent idea, the costs would easily be paid from the resulting revenues and a massive savings to each provinces health system. 

    • I remember when our provincial government owned an airline…we didn’t travel for cheap.  I also do not recall Petro Canada offering cheap gas.  Then there is the post office….
      The government should not be competing with businesses because it is a bureaucracy and it never does anything particularily efficiently. 
      Now, I am all for a national medication plan.  Let’s use our collective clout to negotiate some awesome deals from ALL the pharmaceutical companies because that way we will get serious price reductions on ALL medications.  Were the government to start its own pharmaceutical company (big mistake) or buy one (big big dollars), we would not get any medications that were under patent at a discount AND we would have huge operating costs (drugs cost alot because new drugs are not easy to develop).  By using our collective buying power, we buy in huge bulk at a great discount (just like Walmart) and we have none of the headaches of running a pharmaceutical company.

  4. I take it Niki Ashton has never been to Quebec, with all the multinational pharmaceutical companies who have set up shop their, providing well-paid jobs, and who rely on patent protection.

    Way to shore up the NDP’s Quebec base Niki.

  5. Why is creating a new crown corporation (with everything that goes with it) supposed to be better than doing what Ontario (and to a lesser extent, BC) did and negotiate/legislate what the government is willing to pay the existing generic drug manufacturers?

  6. In NS there’s been a long history of a handful of paving companies bidding on
    road projects. I won’t go into detail but some of the bidding practices have been
    seen as questionable at best. The provincial government went out and bought
    their own paving equipment. They haven’t used it much but, strangely, the bids
    seem to have become more reasonable. Funny how that works.

    • So the government paving company (and its workers) are mostly idle?

      • Of course. Everybody knows gummint employees stand around with
        their thumbs up their bums. Saw it on Sun TV.

        • It was stated:  “They haven’t used it much but, strangely, the bids
          seem to have become more reasonable. ”

          This means:
          a) the government paving company has not been used much.
          b) private companies are still bidding on the projects

          Which suggests that
          a) private companies are doing the bulk of the paving work
          b) the government paving company is doing little of the paving work

          As such, a reasonable question is whether the government paving company is most idle?

          • Pardon the previous snark. There is no government company as
            such. The equipment (used) was purchased. On the rare occasion
            it has been used (so far).. mainly some chip sealing on rural roads ..
            it is operated by current DoT employees. If the purchase alone is
            sufficient to leverage reasonable bids from private contractors it may
            never be used. Which would be fine by me .. and worth the price of

          • Thanks for the elaboration. If the NS government can save the hapless taxpayer some $ by the purchase of some equipment, then more power to it.

  7. If the government can do it cheaper, what exactly is the problem?  Is ideology really a good reason to pay more for pharmaceuticals (and insurance)?

    • The government can do some things cheaper (single payer health care jumps out as the obvious example). The government can not do all things cheaper, as evidenced by the lack of any successful country where the government tries this.

      So, I would say it is ideological to assume that a government run pharmaceutical manufacturer would automatically have better results than, say, following the Ontario and BC approach of negotiated/legislated prices.

      Basically all I am asking for is that a case be made that this is the *best* approach. What Ashton seems to be doing is taking an *opinion* and presenting it as fact.

      • I make no claim that government will be able to make it cheaper, but to reject the possibility that they can (as a crown corp or whatever) just on the basis of neo-liberal ideology is silly.  Cold, hard numbers are completely missing from this discussion.

    • Many pharmaceutical companies are involved in developing the multitudes of medications on the market.  Running a pharmaceutical company would not give the government access to all the medications and vaccines out there.  It would be like buying a Hummer factory so that you could get military vehicles for cheaper….it is not one stop shopping.
      It is much better to buy medication from all the pharmaceutical companies as a large cooperative …like Walmart Pharmacy does…the more you buy, the bigger the discount.  A national drug plan, would mean big discounts on all medications – patent and generic…but someone would have to administer it.  Every province would have to organize a drug plan to start with and then they could combine as a national cooperative.

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