HOW THIS WORKS
I started by collecting stories and pictures from people in my network of friends and colleagues. What is shocking is how easy it was to reach out and find compelling stories.
Collecting stories is good, and some people will find the web page without help. But to foster real change, the stories have to get to elected representatives and other influential people.
Speaking with an MP's executive assistant in Ottawa in May, I was shocked to learn that they get very few letters about health care. THAT – I said – is something I CAN help with. I considered e-mailing and cc-ing the stories, but felt that did not have the right cachet.
So, for each story, I write a letter for the person whose story it is – from their perspective – to their MP. I send them the letter for final approval (it is from them, after all) and once they are satisfied, I have THEM post that letter with their printed story to their MP (luckily sending letters to MPs is free). I then take their letter and cc it by post to other important cabinet ministers, critics and any others who may have an interest in the portfolio. And just to be thorough, I copy it to their provincial and municipal representatives.
Remember, this is not a form letter. This is a different letter and story EACH and every time. Oh yeah, I also copy all of the other MP's who have already received someone's letter and story (you're welcome Canada Post).
If the story highlights a specific problem with our current system, I will post a blog and video (apologies in advance). You see, I can think of no other more effective way of getting our individual and shared voice heard.
If you'd like to help, add your story, add your name or donate!
FUNDING (OR LACK THEREOF)
Look, I'm not funded by big pharma, little pharma, generics, government, insurance, magic money trees, wishful thinking, or anyone or anything like that. I'm not above digging through the couch for change and jamming little pieces of Lego under my fingernails. But this project still costs real money, takes real time and means real resources. That being said, I have a particular hate-on for pop-ups that make you give your e-mail before you can look at a web site. And ads. I really, really hate ads.
So – you ask skeptically – who DOES pay for this? Well, hopefully it's YOU.
That way this project has only ONE agenda – advocating for a rational national public drug plan.
BUT THEN WHAT, BILL?
I'll be honest, it's been 50 years. I don't expect this to happen overnight. But, if I can get just a little financial support from a lot of people, I will keep fighting until we have a complete health care system.
And if this works, it'd be a shame to just let this whole thing fade away. Imagine what we could do with a truly independent voice moving forward? Drug prices? OK! Mental health? You bet! Just name the issue! Hey, just a thought - tuck it in back of your mind and let it evolve.
Faces of Pharmacare is by necessity set up as a federal not-for-profit rather than a charity, so I can't issue tax receipts, unless the rules limiting charities from advocacy change.
The priority will be to always be a completely independent voice for a sensible public drug plan. And unfortunately right now, this means no tax receipts.
But there is an upside! Because this site accepts only donations, there's no HST or GST. So there's that.
And to be crystal clear, I will NEVER, EVER sell, rent or give away your personal information.