The International Federation on Ageing has embarked on a national public awareness campaign focused on the overarching importance of patient empowerment and physician autonomy in making evidence-based therapeutic choices accessible in a timely way to the appropriate patient.
The expected and dramatic increase in the prevalence of vision loss in Canada and questions about access to the appropriate treatment of retinal conditions presents an immediate concern and challenge to an aging population and their families.
In fact, according to two Ipsos surveys conducted in June – one of Canadians over the age of 45 and the other among medical specialists and family physicians there is strong agreement that a physician in consultation with the patient should be able to choose the most appropriate Health Canada-approved treatments for retinal and other conditions, irrespective of cost.
Canadians are virtually unanimous (97%) in agreeing (71% strongly/26% somewhat) that they ‘have a right to the best medications that are approved for use in Canada.’
Likewise, more than nine in ten (95%) agree (64% strongly/31% somewhat) that their physician ‘should have the right to prescribe the best medication regardless of the cost to the healthcare system.’
Nine in ten Canadians (90%) agree (47% strongly)/44% somewhat) that ‘patients suffer when treatment decisions are influenced by the cost of a medication’, and two in three (67%) agree (18% strongly/49% somewhat) that ‘doctors feel pressure to prescribe drugs based on the cost to the healthcare system.’
More than nine in ten doctors (93%) say that ‘being unable to prescribe the most appropriate treatment because of cost is a barrier to good patient care.’
Nine in ten doctors (91%) agree (49% strongly/42% somewhat) that overall quality of life of patients is negatively affected when treatment choice is impacted by cost, while 90% agree (57% strongly/33% somewhat) they should be able to prescribe the most effective medication for patients regardless of cost.
Eight in ten doctors (83%) agree (36% strongly/47% somewhat) that the cost of certain drugs regularly prevents them from prescribing the best medication for their patients. Through education and connection to the perceptions and attitudes of Canadians over the age of 45, as well as physicians, there is a new and improved understanding of the importance of therapeutic choice and physician autonomy in determining treatment regimes.
Action from all concerned Canadians is needed now! Read on to learn more about how you can make a difference.