Blog Entries With Tag: cost

Posted: Mar 29, 2014

If only money grew on trees

For some of us - who don't have either private or work medical coverage here in Canada for prescriptions we require - it can be tough to manage the budget between food / rent / and other things that we require to stay alive.

For example, in my case, even though I don't have pump coverage (in Quebec it is for under 18 only - and as long as you remain in the province after that age - you are covered) - my visits to doctors / hospital (ER) they are paid for through our provincial income taxes.  Of course, this is all based on your income.

Wait but currency grows on trees

The same applies for medical coverage in our province - it is all based on your income - and so far - since starting to research where I'll get my best bang for my buck based on cost of living (housing / rent is relatively cheaper here in Quebec than in Ontario which is "next door").  These are things you have to weigh out when having to survive on medications to keep you alive.  

Sadly, when attempting to find out what each province covers via the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) - I'm finding no information at all.  In away, this is something I thought they would have shown on their website - to help ALL Canadians figure out what is covered by each province.  Either I'm looking in the wrong place - but this is what lead me to post this blog - incase others are like myself - wondering about their best option for medical/prescription coverage for their diabetes health.

UPDATE: Thanks to Petronella Peach - she sent me this link from CDA - that shows what our provinces cover for diabetes prescriptions.  They're abit out of date (2011) - but better than nothing!

what Canadian funds looks like to a foreigner

Take for example, I move to Ontario (that has insulin pump coverage if I go back to it that is).  You have to pay for your prescriptions until you reach retirement age.  They do not have a similar medical plan like we do here in Quebec - which is a more socialist system similar to France. Ontarians of course - pay less in provincial taxes - so there goes the thinking cap of what works out better financially in the long run to maintain my diabetic health?  Paying out of your own pocket OR paying the province more in taxes to have your drugs covered.  Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. If only money grew on trees.


Current Drug Insurance Plan in Quebec

Above it the current public prescription drug in my province (for larger picture go to this link link

How does your own province/state/country compare to mine?  I'm curious - as I prepare to make a move after retirement to a new frontier - perhaps to the east coast (closer to the sea for sailing) - wait - maybe to France!


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Posted: Jun 21, 2013

My tummy having a Contact Detach put into it
I noticed in a diabetic group the other day on Facebook - that some people have never heard of the stainless steel infusion sets that some of insulin pumpers use (Medtronic (MM) is a Sure-T, Animas is a Contact Detach, Accu-Chek is a Rapid D).  I know the ones made for Animas and Medtronic – are all made by the same company –

For some people, giving an injection, with a syringe or pen needle, even with the smaller gauges available AND length of needles, TOTALLY freaks them out.  I can understand with what we had back in the early years of needles meant for elephants buttocks (wait – I was using them on my human buttock as a child – yikeroos).  Times have changed, thank goodness, it's easier to inject, but still some diabetics who have had this disease as long as I have, can’t inject themselves.  Putting a CGMS or infusion set into place on their body - they cannot do. I find with the Contact Detach I have no problems with placing into my skin (it is 29 gauge).  With other infusion sets available, I find the introducer needle that comes with the plastic cannula infusion sets very daunting.  I almost fainted the first time I put one in place, it was sooooo long, compared to the 6mm / 8mm length stain steel needle.

                             Image courtesy of

To help some of you understand what one of these infusion sets are all about - since some people think the needle portion of the infusion set had to be removed from the skin - here's a great video of a young boy putting in this type of infusion set at this link.  He makes it look so easy (and it is - though watching him made me realise - how long it takes to do this procedure - as it's about 6 minutes from start to finish to perform the task).

Hopefully the video helps explain what a stainless steel infusion set is for some of you who don't know what it is.  Personally, I find it causes less skin irritation for me - as I have a slight Teflon allergy in the plastic cannula's that are used in infusion sets). The other good thing is, it's less expensive to purchase than other infusion sets.  Also, I find due to the connecting port that is on your skin (there is the infusion site AND the connecting port – both glued to your skin) – less chances of ripping off infusion set completely – it’s like a safety chain in a way.  I'd posted about the Contact Detach a few years ago as well - if you want a less model type figure to look at - then you can check out my blog that contains the link.

Contact Detach
The one thing I do have a beef about - and I'd mentioned about this a few weeks ago at Blogger - the cost of the infusion sets to Canadians (and those of us not living in the USA).  The price that we pay for the infusion sets shows quite a wide gap in prices.  For example, my Contact Detach here in Canada costs $155 - if I was an American - I'd be paying $94.  I thought it was perhaps due to our value of our dollar - but we're pretty close to being at par these days.  The price list as well - since I started pumping over 5 years ago - hasn't changed at all.  When I spoke to Animas Canada about the price difference today - Alexis - one of the staff there who took my order (and a pumper herself) - said that due to duty/tarriffs and our smaller pumping compared to the States that this is why we - and other countries pay more.  Huh???? I tried to figure out what the cost was to ship the product from Mexico - to United States - then Canada - but I'd have to have my brain go to school to figure all the ins/outs of trading between these countries through the Canada  Border Service Agency website.
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Posted: Aug 23, 2011
Well, I just noticed I haven't written in awhile. It's difficult in the summer time (which is a short season here in Canada) to want to sit inside and stare at a screen.  Between sailing on Jenna's Journey and testing out our new wheels on our '97 Boxster that we bought as a mutual birthday / anniversary pressie - we've been having fun!!!  Reason for the car purchase?  We originally wanted to buy a bigger motorcycle, but after a few deaths this year of close friends on their motorcycles, we decided to not get a bigger bike and lucked in on this car. It was actually cheaper then purchasing a used motorcycle.  So, come next month - look out for us along the eastern coast of the USA as we head to Rhode Island for the Newport boat show.

Now, onto what I really want to write about.

The past few years, my pharmacy that I've dealt with for 22 years has been goofing around with my prescriptions.  Mainly losing my renewal prescriptions from my doctors who are difficult to see at times.  I actually thought I was doing a good thing in getting duplicates from the two doctors I see - but now understand that here in Quebec - that when a new prescription renewal is handed to the pharmacist - it cancels out any previous repeats from another doctor.  News to me - but scary - when I'd go to request my diabetes supplies and am told ... "you have no renewals - you have to see your doctor to obtain more insulin / blood strips / etc.".  I actually had to go to Ontario one time in order to purchase insulin without a prescription!  Luckily it's only an hours drive from where I live in Quebec - but still - to go that route too often could become abit tiresome (and expensive with cost of fuel).

So, a few weeks ago, I called up to reorder some prescriptions.  I walked over to the drug store (I will miss this bit) - and was told - "we have everything available - except your Novorapid!"  I was having to do a cartridge refill on my pump that night and needed that insulin (I do have backup pen refills - but those are for emergency use only or when I go on a pump break).  They told me they'd have it the next day except that didn't sit well with me. 

I went outside for a few minutes - calmed down - then went back in asking if they had my files all in order as I was going to remove all my business from them to Costco - where I could purchase my insulin and other supplies for almost 1/3 of what I paid at this pharmacy (thanks to Nel Peach for informing me to shop around).  They told me that there would be no problem and didn't even try to win me back.

So, I'm now with the big store of Costco - which I really wish I didn't have to be with mainly as I now have to drive to pick up my supplies - but the cost is lower which is a good thing. They've also  explained things to me that make sense and it's all in English which is even better.  Apparently the files that were sent to them are abit strange in some of the prescription info.  So for now they'll honour my word as to what I use and requested I have my GP who I luckily see next week write out a prescription for all the drugs I use for my diabetes!  The other pharmacy would have never done this - but put all the blame on me - which I really annoyed me to no end.

Even better, a BP pill I take the Costco pharmacist said they could sell me a generic brand at 1/2 the price!  I was abit hesitant about this, but they promised me it would do the same thing.  This was never offered to me at the other pharmacy, to save money!

So, now looking ahead to retirement when I no longer have company benefits and may have to pay for my medications myself if the government plan doesn't cover all of what I use, I feel abit more at ease.  It's something I've always had to think about since starting to work fulltime at 19 - the cost of maintaining my health when I am no longer work.  How many young adults think of this at that age?  I did.  I've been very lucky that my Dad brought me up to put away money for my retirement even when I didn't have much, I found a way.  Hopefully between my government / company pensions that I will receive - along with my savings - I should do alright if I continue with up front establishments like what I am now going to.

Best wishes to PROXIM Maire-Jolimise Gourdet Pharmacy - you will no longer be seeing me as a faithful client ever again!
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