Drug expenditures are washing over the Canadian health care system like a tsunami, threatening to inundate or demolish structures built up over the past 40 years. This issue of the journal includes the transcript of a talk given in November, 1999 by Ms Mary Catherine Lindberg as part of a forum on optimal drug therapy (pages 87-89). Ms Lindberg is the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, with responsibility for the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan. Her remarks illustrate a central dilemma of modern health care. Governments and other payers are intent on making the best possible use of resources in order to secure optimal treatment and disease prevention, but find it increasingly difficult to blend the requirement for supportive scientific evidence with the recognition that timely decisions must be made about reimbursement for health services and drugs. Buy Asthma Inhalers Online
In many cases, the evidence needed to guide optimal drug therapy is simply lacking, and that is particularly true when payers try to address questions of therapeutic impact on quality of life. Expenditures on drug therapy, in both private and public sectors, are increasing dramatically, but it would be a mistake to respond precipitously to such expenditure without considering the diverse benefits coming from modern drug therapy. Ms Lindberg’s thoughtful comments reflect the effort made in one jurisdiction, Ontario, to examine in a balanced fashion, the costs and benefits of therapeutic drugs.