The Campbell administration's conversation on health was meant to give ordinary British Columbians a say in the future of the province's healthcare system. But unions representing workers in that system aren't the only special interest groups encouraging conversation participation. Earlier this year, pharamceutical company Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. setup a Website to do just that. Not surprisingly, the testimonials featured on that Website focus on those who have benefited from or are advocating for expanded Pharmacare coverage. For example, Lawrie's Story
tells the tale of a 68-year old Chilliwack resident who has been "trying to find out why BC doesn't cover the cost" of the medication he takes to "keep his blood pressure in check and lower his cholesterol."
In an interview with Public Eye, Merck Frosst public affairs manager Vincent Lamoreux explained the Website was simply a "way of encouraging as many citizens as possible to take part in the conversation on health. Of course, Merck Frosst, as a company, commended Premier Campbell's effort and his government when it introduced the conversation on health because it's a mechanism to engage all British Columbians in an effort to find ways to improve healthcare."
Continued Mr. Lamoreux, "Merck Frosst - as you very well know - is a pharmaceutical company and a partner in healthcare in Canada and in British Columbia. So we welcome the opportunity to be able to contribute to the conversation on health. And, of course, we have things to say - input and suggestions on how pharmaceutical management is part of the healthcare equation in Canada. So the interests of patients are certainly shared with the interests of our company. We have common goals."
Indeed, according to the spokesman, "It's clear that anything that's good for patients will be good for our company. Because everything that we do - as to research for new innovative drugs - will help patients lead better lives. So, of course, we're interested in making sure patients have access to our products. It's good for the patient and it's good for our company."