TORONTO - Providing free drugs to heart attack patients could improve
their lives at a relatively low cost to the exchequer, says a new study.
“Many patients are not benefiting from effective prescribed medications because
they simply don’t fill their prescriptions,” says Irfan Dhalla, physician at St.
Michael’s Hospital, who led the study.
“There is growing evidence that having to pay for medications out of pocket is a
major reason,” says Dhalla.
The study meant to show what would happen if governments fully covered the costs
of five heart attack medications - a beta blocker, low-dose aspirin, an ACE
inhibitor, a statin, and a new drug clopidogrel - routinely prescribed for heart
The use of these effective and cheaper drugs has led to a dramatic decline in
deaths from cardiovascular disease in recent years. Between 1980 and 2000,
mortality from cardiovascular disease in Canada decreased by approximately 50
percent, said a St Michael’s release.
The “status quo” option reflects the current situation where people who don’t
have private drug insurance or who aren’t eligible for government-funded drug
programs are expected to pay the full cost of their prescriptions after a heart