Haggie Heeds Opposition, Lifts Limit on

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Haggie Heeds Opposition, Lifts Limit on Sight-Saving Eye Injections
PC Opposition health critic Dave Brazil said pressure from the public and the Opposition can make a difference.
Friday, December 13, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

St. John’s, NL (December 13, 2019) – PC Opposition health critic Dave Brazil said pressure from the public and the Opposition can make a difference, as proven with Thursday’s announcement by the provincial health minister that the province is lifting the limit on sight-saving eye injections – a limit that left many to face blindness.

The PC caucus has been raising the issue for months. In a news release in July, Brazil said no other province had such a limit on treatments.

Most recently, on December 5 in the House, Brazil asked the Minister to make this happen.

Brazil asked: “A woman is going blind because the government won't cover the eye injection she needs to keep her vision. She needs the shot every two weeks, $1,800 a shot, about $47,000 a year, which, coincidently, is the difference between Carla Foote's salary and the salary that The Rooms approved. When will the Premier stop defending the waste of public money that could be saving a woman's eyesight?”

Minister John Haggie responded: “I have met with various representatives from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, as well as officials with the Pharmaceutical Services Division in my department and we are working on a proposal with the help of the ophthalmologist in this province. We would expect something to come from this process imminently, Mr. Speaker. As soon as I get something, I will be happy to inform the House.”

Mount Pearl North PC MHA Jim Lester has also raised the issue repeatedly in the House. On March 7, he said: “I've got a constituent in my district who has made several appeals to Eastern Health and to the Ministry. She's going to go blind because she cannot afford a further injection that will save her sight. … So for the sake of a couple of thousand dollars to enable her to stay independent and looking after herself, she's now going to become a ward of the state and cost us thousands and thousands of dollars a week”. On April 8, he asked: “How can it be more efficient to cut out a $1,500 injection once every two months to prevent somebody from going blind, versus taking that person who will now not be able to look after themselves at all and put them in an institution?”

Brazil said, “The Health Minister should also listen to the advice about funding insulin pumps for people over the age of 25, because it will save lives while also saving the province money in the long run. Policy changes like this are compassionate and they also make sound sense from a public policy perspective, because they keep people healthier.”


Bradley Russell, Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668



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