THE Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) said on Wednesday it is very pleased with the final recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare. After spending a year consulting with Canadians, the Council has recommended that Canada adopt a public, universal pharmacare program.
“Pharmacare is the missing piece of Canada’s public health care system,” said Melanie Benard, the CHC’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Canadians have been calling for pharmacare for decades. We applaud the work of the Council and its Chair, Dr. Eric Hoskins. They recognized that universal, public pharmacare is the only way to ensure all Canadians have equitable access to medications.”
Canada is the only country in the world that has a public health care system that doesn’t cover prescription medication. The patchwork system of drug coverage is leaving countless Canadians falling through the cracks. Currently, one in four households can’t afford their prescription medication. “The current system is unfair and unsustainable. Medication should be covered like other health services. When people fill their prescriptions, we should be asking for their health cards, not their credit cards,” added Benard.
The Advisory Council has recommended that Canada’s new pharmacare program follows the principles in the Canada Health Act. Pharmacare should be publicly funded and administered, universal, comprehensive, accessible and portable. A new arm’s length drug agency would oversee this new program, reducing the costs of medications through bulk buying. Universal coverage for essential medicines should be provided by 2022 and a fully comprehensive pharmacare program should be in place by 2027.
“The Council’s recommendations should be implemented as soon as possible. This will be a ballot-box issue in the upcoming federal election. We’ll be calling on all the political parties to make universal, public pharmacare part of their election platforms. Canadians have been waiting for this for far too long, and we’re finally close to getting it. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and buying the medications they need,” said Benard.