(Unsplash)

(Unsplash)

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Many Canadians are borrowing money to afford their prescription drugs, a study from the University of B.C. suggests.

The study, published Tuesday in CMAJ Open, found that 2.5 per cent, or 731,000, of Canadians admitted to borrowing money to cover medication costs.

Researchers analyzed data from Statistics Canada’s 2016 Canadian Community Health Survey, which looked at the drug buying habits of 27,519 Canadians.

They found that millennials were 3.5 times more likely to have to borrow money than those between 45 and 54 years old.

People without private drug coverage were twice as likely to need a loan to buy prescription medication.

The study did not differentiate how Canadians borrowed the money, whether it was credit cards, pay day loans or money from friends and family.

One-third of those who borrowed money had to do so for prescriptions costing $200 or less, while a quarter borrowed money for drugs costing between $201 and $500.

“These new findings suggest that many people are going into debt to cover the costs of their prescription medications every year,” said the study’s lead author Ashra Kolhatkar, a research coordinator at UBC’s Centre for Health Service and Policy Research.

“A key finding in our study was that borrowing occurred for all levels of out of pocket costs, and over 60 per cent of borrowing reported by the respondents in the study was for prescriptions that cost $500 or less.”

Michael Law, senior study author and the Canada Research Chair in Access to Medicine, said that a solution needed to be found to allow Canadians to buy drugs debt-free.

READ MORE: Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare

READ MORE: Watchdog praises changes made so far after B.C.’s health worker misfirings scandal

“Some provinces like Ontario and B.C. have implemented new public coverage programs to assist younger and lower-income Canadians who don’t have private drug insurance,” said Law.

“Moving forward, we will need to investigate the impacts of these policies and continue to assess where people are falling through the cracks.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The winners of the boys virtual moguls competition with the Freestyle club. (Contributed by Troy Nixon)
Fernie Freestyle Club carves up FAR

The club has been undeterred by the challenges of the season

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Fernie man dies in avalanche

The 35-year-old man was caught in an avalanche near Valemount

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

The area of the East Kootenay under a special avalanche warning. Submitted
Avalanche Canada issues special warning for southern Rockies

Northern Rockies also under special avalanche warning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Most Read