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. In June 2019, the federal-appointed Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare released its final report. It recommended the creation of a universal, single-payer public pharmacare program, with a low co-payment amount. It also called on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to create a list of essential medicines to be covered under the program by 2022. The CMA made similar recommendations in its’ submission, and continues to call for Canadians to have access to medically necessary prescription drugs, regardless of their ability to pay.