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Wide Range of Global Challenges, G-7 Ministers Hope to Seal Commitments

Italy has also irked EU and U.S. allies by becoming the first G-7 member to sign up to a contentious Chinese plan to build a Silk Road-style global trade network, the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

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G-7 Countries
Participants of a G-7 ministerial meeting walk to have a group photo taken on the second day of their talks, in Dinard, France, April 6, 2019. VOA

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven advanced economies were wrapping up a two-day meeting in the French seaside resort of Dinard on Saturday where they hope to seal joint commitments on a range of global challenges and lay the groundwork for August’s G-7 summit in Biarritz.

Diplomats from G-7 countries, which include the U.S., France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K., walked side-by-side against the rocky Atlantic coast backdrop and in the fresh Brittany air to project a united front before a working lunch. They hope to agree on a joint statement on the fight against trafficking drugs, arms and migrants in Africa’s troubled Sahel region, fighting cybercrime and stopping sexual violence against women in conflict zones, especially in Africa.

U.S.
Washington seems to be at odds with Italy over its stance on the crisis-hit South American country, being the sole G-7 member state to not back Guaido. VOA

But U.S. officials said that points of discord will also be discussed at the talks led by the host, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said that Washington will use the G-7 forum to galvanize support for Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who the U.S. has backed to lead the country into a “democratic transformation from the failed regime” of President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido has embarked on an international campaign to topple the socialist administration of Venezuela’s president amid deepening unrest in the country, which has been plagued by nearly a month of power outages.

Washington seems to be at odds with Italy over its stance on the crisis-hit South American country, being the sole G-7 member state to not back Guaido.

crime
They hope to agree on a joint statement on the fight against trafficking drugs, arms and migrants in Africa’s troubled Sahel region, fighting cybercrime and stopping sexual violence against women in conflict zones, especially in Africa. Pixabay

The U.S. and Canada have pursued a pro-active stance on widening support for Guaido, according to French officials. But there has already been widespread alarm after Guaido was stripped of immunity by Maduro loyalists earlier this week.

“With Juan Guaido being stripped of his immunity … we don’t want the situation to escalate,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Dinard on Saturday.

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“We are still of the opinion that free elections should take place during which Venezuelans can decide themselves who will lead the country,” he added.

Italy has also irked EU and U.S. allies by becoming the first G-7 member to sign up to a contentious Chinese plan to build a Silk Road-style global trade network, the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative. (VOA)

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Researchers Find That Discount on Medical Drugs Can Make you Purchase Them More

The study used Canadian national pharmacy data from 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications where brand-name drug discount cards were used and compared

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Discount
While Discount cards decreased some patients' out-of-pocket costs by 7 per cent on an average, the study surprisingly found that many patients who filled prescriptions using a card were worse-off financially as a result. Pixabay

Researchers have found that brand-name Drug Discount cards are leading to higher healthcare spending in Canada.

Brand-name drug discount cards — also known as co-pay cards — are coupons offered by drug manufacturers to encourage patients to use brand-name drugs even after much cheaper generics became available.

Despite often boosting savings for customers, the study’s findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal show that drug discount cards actually increased private insurer costs by 46 per cent and public insurer costs by 1.3 per cent, compared to patients purchasing generics instead.

“We know that generic drugs are equally effective for the vast majority of patients. Given that, I believe these cards are leading to unjustifiable increases in health care costs,” said the study’s lead author Michael Law from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

While discount cards decreased some patients’ out-of-pocket costs by 7 per cent on an average, the study surprisingly found that many patients who filled prescriptions using a card were worse-off financially as a result.

This wasn’t the case for all drugs, but in some cases patients could pay up to $10 more out-of-pocket when using a discount card.

The study used Canadian national pharmacy data from 2.82 million prescriptions for 89 different medications where brand-name drug discount cards were used and compared the costs of these prescriptions to matched generic equivalents.

Discount
Researchers have found that brand-name Drug Discount cards are leading to higher healthcare spending in Canada. Pixabay

The researchers said that patients, their clinicians and employers should be aware of the impact that brand-name discount cards have on the healthcare system.

For example, the increased costs to private insurers will likely be passed on to the patients and their employers in the form of increased insurance premiums.

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“Regardless of whether they hold insurance, patients should check the relative price between brand-name drugs with a discount card and the equivalent generics at their pharmacy,” said Law. (IANS)