Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently presented the 2018 federal budget that included a commitment to increase funding for health research by $355 million over five years. Diabetes Canada commends this news as this financial support will strengthen the Canadian health research ecosystem, provide employment, stimulate the economy and set the stage for greater innovation.
The funding of medical research in particular is crucial to supporting better health for Canadians and providing advances in care, treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. Diabetes Canada funds research diverse in its scope, covering a broad range of approaches; the key focus of every study and researcher remain the same – to improve the lives of people living with diabetes and to find a cure. It is hoped that this increase in federal research funding will benefit an equally diverse group of health researchers in their work to improve the health of Canadians.
Diabetes Canada also supports the budget’s emphasis on improving Canadians’ access to medicines. The establishment of the “Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare” to investigate an approach to providing Canadians with the medications they need is essential to improving health outcomes for Canadians. Patients and their health-care providers must be involved in developing and evaluating policy options that impact their ability to access necessary prescription medicines, including ramifications for individual patient populations, payers, and the health-care systems as a whole.
“People with diabetes have a large stake in how medicines are brought to Canada, reviewed by agencies and reimbursed by drug plans,” says Dr. Jan Hux, President of Diabetes Canada. “We look forward to partnering with the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare to develop and implement a plan that will ensure that all Canadians have access to the medicines they need.”
Diabetes Canada also applauds the $1.5 billion increase in spending on Indigenous health. Indigenous Canadians are three to five times more likely to live with diabetes and its complications than the general population. Measures that ensure the health and safety of Indigenous Peoples will benefit all Canadians.
An additional highlight included the announcement of a comprehensive departmental review of the Canada Revenue Agency’s service model.
Absent from this year’s budget is increased investments to develop an approach to addressing the diabetes epidemic in Canada. “With one in three Canadians now living with diabetes or prediabetes, the need for urgent action couldn’t be greater,” says Dr. Hux. “Diabetes Canada will be working with multiple stakeholders throughout 2018 to collectively call on governments to dedicate additional resources to the prevention and management of diabetes in their 2019 budget.”
Diabetes Canada looks forward to learning more about possible strategies that will impact the health and well-being of those living with diabetes, as well as ways we can work together with government and community partners to address the diabetes epidemic.