Monday, August 15, 2011

The Case for a Pharmacare Plan in Canada

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Economic Case for Universal Pharmacare
Costs and Benefits of Publicly Funded Drug Coverage for all Canadians

From the Executive Summary

A public drug insurance plan should form an integral part of a country’s pharmaceutical policies. The plan must tie together social programs designed to provide a minimum of well-being for all citizens, health policies designed to optimize public health, industrial policies aimed at attracting foreign investment, intellectual property policies, and tax policies designed to ensure greater fairness in redistributing wealth.

A drug insurance plan that includes a drug assessment process can also help distinguish between drug products in order to ensure the quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness of prescription drugs. A drug insurance plan is not only a way to compensate for or reimburse drug expenses, but also a way to control costs through efficient pharmaco-economic assessment of new drugs and by developing bargaining power when dealing with powerful transnational drug companies.

The complexity of these various aspects of Pharmacare must be considered in order to determine the best drug insurance plan to meet the common goals of a community.

As far back as 1964, the Royal Commission on Health Services recommended that a universal drug insurance plan be established for all Canadians. The National Health Forum, under Jean Chrétien in 1997, recommended universal drug coverage. The Romanow Commission in 2002 recommended catastrophic drug coverage as a first step towards universal Pharmacare. But the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy,  implemented since 2004, has failed to achieve even catastrophic drug coverage for all Canadians.

The lack of political enthusiasm for Pharmacare can mainly be explained by fears of the escalating costs such a plan is expected to entail. But this argument, which also predominates in the media, is completely lacking in substance.

Download the groundbreaking  report, The Economic Case for Universal Pharmacare.
The report lays out the formula for a Pharmacare program that not only covers all Canadians, but could annually save up to $10.7 billon in spending. The report garnered the endorsement of eminent doctors, nurses, economists and researchers.

Download the Report [2.2 mb]
Download the Executive Summary
Download the Fact Sheet
Download the Reality Check on Rx&D
Download the Pharmacare Index
Read the Media Release
Read the Media Coverage

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