Prescription medication plays a critical role in maintaining a high-quality, cost-effective health care system. Yet Canada is the only country in the world with universal health care that does not also include prescription medications as part of its public health plan. For too many Canadians, high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs cause them to skip doses or avoid having prescriptions filled — which has a negative impact on their health and places further strain on the health care system.
The CMA has been advocating for more affordable prescription medications for more than 30 years. Now, recent studies and consultations by the federal government have put the idea of a national pharmacare program back on the country’s agenda. The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare was struck in February 2018. We are suggesting to the Advisory Panel that it explore the feasibility of a universal federally-funded “essential medicines” prescription drug plan— and will continue to call for Canadians to have access to medically necessary prescription drugs regardless of their ability to pay.
physicians frequently ask patients about drug coverage, indicating coverage is a barrier for many people
of physicians say patients without drug coverage do not fill prescriptions
is how much Canadian households spent out of pocket on prescription drugs in 2014
of total health care expenditures in Canada are drug-related