I’m an emergency room physician with a family practice. I have spent time abroad as a physician in a number of developing countries. Unbelievable poverty, resource scarcity and poor infrastructure are endemic in these countries. In some ways—though I don’t have to like it—it’s understandable that there would also be insurmountable issues with access to medications in these less developed regions of the world.

But to see it in Canada is infuriating and heart-wrenching. We live in one of the most well-off countries on the planet, and affordability of medications is a constant concern at all levels. I see it with many of my patients in my practice, as well as in the emergency room.

And, I see it every day.

People will turn down a prescription because to them there's no point. They simply can’t afford basic drugs like asthma medications or diabetes treatments, even short-term antibiotics. And forget being able to get the newer medications with prices that become more and more ridiculous every day.

Research suggests that Canadians are literally dying because they can’t access simple medications. From where I stand, I can’t view this as anything but criminal.