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Report: Why Canadians need a national pharmacare program

This landmark report, A Prescription for Better Medicine: Why Canadians need a national pharmacare program, highlights that the current Health Accord negotiations offer a pragmatic opportunity to implement universal pharmacare.

This report looks at the long-standing call for universal pharmacare in Canada. The report notes: “The discussion over a national pharmacare program is inspired not only by the important cost savings a program would bring, but by the need to actualize the right to universal health care for everyone in Canada. This fundamental cornerstone of our medicare, which values need over ability to pay, is still as important today as it was over a decade ago. No one should have to choose between buying food for their family, paying rent or getting the medications they need. All Canadians deserve equal access to safe and effective medically necessary drugs. It is time to finish writing the final chapter in medicare’s story.”

The report makes the case that Big Pharma has put profits before patients for far too long, while governments have sat on the sidelines. From the current opioid crisis to the skyrocketing price of drugs, Canada’s pharmaceutical policies don’t serve people’s best interests. A universal pharmacare program would provide a desperately needed tool to improve patient safety, prescribing appropriateness, therapeutic value, evidence-based drug evaluations, clinical trial transparency, better drug monitoring and post-market surveillance, among other initiatives.

The report also debunks claims that universal pharmacare is not affordable, as evidence shows it is the key to affordability. Equally important, a pharmacare program would be an important tool to coordinate a wide range of pharmaceutical policies and create an evidence-based national formulary. With pharmacare comes the opportunity to improve drug price reviews at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and create real transparency at Health Canada.