ADEA Washington Update

Canadian National Pharmacare Program Designed to Fill in the Gaps

(Canada, Public Health) Permanent link   All Posts

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau has shared more about why he supports Ottawa's new Pharmacare program, which was announced during the 2018 budget release. Minister Morneau said the government’s goal is to ensure all Canadians have access to pharmaceuticals, and currently about 1 million Canadians cannot afford prescription drugs. Closing this gap is the stated aim of this proposed federal program.

The budget revealed the government’s plan to make national Pharmacare a reality with the creation of an advisory council led by Eric Hoskins, M.D., D.Phil., M.S., who resigned his post as Ontario’s health minister to take on the new role.

Many did not realize that Canadians pay among the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world. Canada is also the only country with universal health care that does not include prescription drugs. Government-run plans cover about 40–45% of Canadians and are for the most part only available to seniors, Ontarians under 25, otherwise uninsured Quebecers, welfare recipients, Indigenous people and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Armed Forces. A smaller population, including many self-employed, pay out of pocket for their prescriptions.

Dr. Hoskins, speaking at the Economic Club of Canada, stated that he will consult with stakeholders and make recommendations to government on how to proceed with a national plan. He also said this will take time, as the newly formed council will need to carefully study the issue since the workforce and cost of pharmaceuticals have changed dramatically in the last two decades.

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