Steer clear of the Big Money Club when crafting national pharmacare

Prescription drug policy in Canada ought to be decided in the interest of Canadians, not based on the power of industry sector lobbies

Steer clear of the Big Money Club when crafting national pharmacare“Canadians face some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world,” admitted the federal government when announcing the interim report from its Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. If Canadians hoped this report would provide details on how a national pharmacare program might be implemented and funded, they only got a taste.…

Before implementing national pharmacare, look at what provinces already offer

Instead of using scarce health-care dollars broadly, we should identify and support those Canadians falling through the cracks

Before implementing national pharmacare, look at what provinces already offerModern medicines can improve health outcomes and quality of life for those stricken with illness. As a result, policy-makers and ordinary Canadians are understandably concerned about patient access, affordability and insurance coverage for prescrip­tion drugs. However, recent calls for a national pharmacare program would have many believe that Canadians without private drug insurance – about…

The fundamental fallacy of universal drug coverage

A program to provide prescription drugs to all Canadians is wasteful and wrongheaded. We should simply be targeting those who need help

The fundamental fallacy of universal drug coverageAs a parliamentary committee in Ottawa drafts its report on the possibility of a national drug plan, a new study estimates that roughly one out of every 12 Canadians who required a prescription in 2016 had difficulty paying for it. The authors also estimate that one million Canadians reduced spending on food and heat due…

Access to medications shouldn’t depend on your job

We could give politicians the same medication coverage plans as food servers and see if that speeds up their deliberations about publicly-funding medications

Access to medications shouldn’t depend on your jobMembers of Parliament mulling options for publicly-funding medications will likely take their sweet time. There’s no rush for them because they already have the type of access to medications contemplated for other Canadians. While approximately three million Canadians don’t take medications as directed because of the cost, MPs and other lawmakers enjoy platinum medication plans…

When prescriptions do more harm than good

A new national program has pharmacists dispensing advice on how to curb harmful medications, particularly for seniors

When prescriptions do more harm than goodBy Phil Emberley and Wendy Levinson EvidenceNetwork.ca Pharmacists should be talking to patients about stopping or tapering dangerous medications, like benzodiazepines, to help curb long-term use and dependency. Sleep doesn’t come easy as we age. Take Ilsa, a 78-year-old recent widow. Since her husband passed away, she has slept poorly. A recent hospitalization and the disorienting…

National pharmacare has the power to heal an ailing system

Universal drug coverage for Canada may offer a small personal loss for a few but a larger public gain

National pharmacare has the power to heal an ailing systemThe Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) recently published a report outlining the expected costs and benefits of a possible national pharmacare program – and it’s pretty good news for most Canadians. The pharmacare program that was assessed was one proposed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health in 2016. This committee provided the program’s…

NAFTA renegotiations threaten Canada’s steps toward pharmacare

Canada must both defend the existing public health-care system as well protect its aspirations to creating a better one

NAFTA renegotiations threaten Canada’s steps toward pharmacareBy Ruth Lopert and Steve Morgan EvidenceNetwork.ca A “modernized NAFTA” has significant implications for many sectors of the economy, including health care. What’s at stake? Canadians’ right to universal access to affordable medicines. When negotiating with the U.S. and Mexico, Canadian trade and health officials would be well advised to be mindful of two things. First, U.S.…

Proposed changes could reduce access to prescription drugs

While well-intentioned, changes to Patented Medicine Prices Review Board could stop companies from launching new drugs

Proposed changes could reduce access to prescription drugsBy Dr. Nigel Rawson and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute In a speech in May, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott talked about rising prescription drug prices and announced the launch of consultations on proposed changes to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) designed “to protect Canadians from excessive drug prices.” The proposed changes may…

Free medicines for rich kids is a fair and efficient policy

Universality is no free ride for the rich. If everyone pays, say, a one per cent income tax for universal drug coverage, the millionaire will pay much more

Free medicines for rich kids is a fair and efficient policyOntario’s duelling pharmacare proposals should make victors of all Canadians. The opposition New Democrats recently promised universal drug coverage for a list of essential medicines, if they are elected. Not to be outdone, the ruling Liberal party announced universal coverage for all drugs on the provincial formulary for youth under 25 years of age. Most health policy…

Starting with kids defensible step toward universal pharmacare

But Ontario budget commitment won’t solve all the problems of drug access in Canada, not even in Ontario

Starting with kids defensible step toward universal pharmacareBy Avram Denburg and Wendy Ungar EvidenceNetwork.ca The Ontario government’s decision to invest in universal drug coverage for those under 25 is a long-needed policy commitment that will help ensure the health of our next generation. As a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Denburg sees children every day who struggle to gain access to the medicines they need. These range…

Sustainable pharmacare requires a business-like approach

Out of control spending on Ontario's drug plan could undermine efforts to provide coverage across Canada

Sustainable pharmacare requires a business-like approachBy Colleen M. Flood Director and Bryan Thomas Senior Research Fellow Centre for Health Law Policy and Ethics University of Ottawa Ontario’s proposed pharmacare plan for those aged 25 and under is a welcome start that hopefully leads to universal drug coverage for all Ontarians. The case for universal coverage is overwhelming. It’s scandalous that in 2017, many Canadians die for…

Why Canada needs universal pharmacare and how to make it happen

Prescription drug coverage for all would save lives, save billions of dollars, help businesses – and make our incomplete health system whole

Why Canada needs universal pharmacare and how to make it happenOntario plans to provide a publicly-funded pharmacare system for children and youth in Ontario. It’s a small step in the right direction and, arguably, most important for its symbolism in a national debate. Why just a small step? Because Ontario’s recently-announced plan will provide universal, comprehensive prescription medication coverage to the age group that uses medicines least often.…