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Objectives of a National Pharmacare Program

about 1 month ago

Pharmacare is a system of health insurance that provides people with access to necessary prescription drugs. Its design can be determined by a number of factors, including which population groups are targeted, which types of drugs are covered, and how it is financed.

Most Canadians have some form of prescription drug coverage, but the terms of coverage vary considerably, leaving many households facing cost barriers when they have prescriptions to fill.

What do you feel should be the objectives of a national pharmacare program for Canadians? Share your thoughts below:
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  • Calgary 1 day ago
    Healthy people are productive people and contribute to a healthy society. Being seen by the medical system, diagnosed, determined that medication is necessary to ensure good health is wasted if that medication is not obtainable due to cost. The objective of a national pharmacare program should be to ensure that if a person living in Canada needs medication it should be available to them. The program should be national with access being the same across the country.
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    • Majanurse 1 day ago
      Many seniors and others on fixed income don’t take prescribed meds due to costs. They may skip doses or take smaller doses of their prescribed medication.
  • Mr. Curious 1 day ago
    There should be no debate or hesitation in this regard as it only makes common sense to have a national program even if it costs everyone ten dollars a month.Health care costs are soaring through the roof and our population is only getting older not younger, prescription drugs are out of control and the Canadian public is being raped by the drug companies.Our government a government of the people need to take action and be just that a government of the people and get control of prescription drugs like they do in Europe.It is utterly ridiculous having a health care system like ours and have the drug companies usurp it by charging exorbitant prices for the drugs Canadians need to overcome disease and end up dying because they cannot afford the drugs! How does that help the system when they keep going back to the hospital or doctor because they cannot access the proper treatment.THIS IS A NO BRAINER!
  • Jshaban1 1 day ago
    The role of Government should be to make strategic decisions that are in the best interest of its citizens. National Pharmacare should take into account the total savings to CITIZENS, not just the initial cost of Government to establish and fund the program. Clearly if a program exists to improve quality of lives for Canadians and decrease the pressure on health services delivery - pharmacare is it. This has been studied and debated for decades. The proof exists that this is a wise decision for Canadians.
  • tooth-ed 6 days ago
    Question: Are drug manufacturers more interested in making money than in restoring sick people to health? We need scientific proof that a specific drug will accomplish what it claims to do before we invest public money in buying it. However, everybody in Canada should receive the drugs they need. No restrictions re citizenship, perhaps length of intended residence. How would you enforce it? Hmmm. Over time, private health insurance should disappear. Unions can renegotiate contracts to transfer liability for health insurance from employers and private companies to the government. Government should get the premium money. Dismantling the current health insurance system will be quite a trick -- fought tooth and nail by insurance companies, whose employees will have to be absorbed by government or by unemployment insurance. Much work ahead. Any stats available on union members getting health insurance? Numbers covered, number and value of claims, are all employees, including management, getting the same coverage?
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    • concernednewfoundlander 1 day ago
      All medications are made to go through a Health Canada (and often also Food and Drug Administration US) testing to prove that they not only do what they say they're doing, but also perform better than a sugar pill, or placebo. The exception for this is of course is the health supplements which state their claims are not verified by Health Canada or the FDA, and those would not be covered by a private insurer, or likely a public one either. Health insurance companies would likely see a reduction in their clientele, but would still need to exist, to cover off things like medical transport, services not under Medicare, like chiropractic and physio, and also things like dental. Pharmacare is a large portion, but not their only gig, so it wouldn't mean total collapse of that industry. Likely what would happen is they would offer extension plans, covering medications not covered under pharmacare, similar to what they do with medicare now. There would almost certainly be exclusions for one reason or another, and private insurance could bridge that gap by offering coverage, even if it was just for things like vitamins and over the counter medications with a prescription.I don't know if there's specific national information for the insurance levels among unionized workers, but I do know that most (if not all) provincial federations of labour do have stats on their province for insurance rates among their members. If you called one and asked, I'm sure they would be more than happy to provide that information. The Canadian Labour Congress may have compiled some national information, but I'm not totally sure on that one!
  • pharmacare_phil 2 days ago
    Please see for a comment on the economics of pharmacare
  • will-o-the-west 2 days ago
    This Advisory Council must study the work of the European Medicines Agency. They will also be wise to consult with the national pharmacare programmers of the Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway in particular. These countries keep medicines affordable by controlling which new ones are covered, by setting maximum prices, by covering generic drugs, and by negotiating purchases jointly with other countries. In the Netherlands, 3/4 of all prescriptions are for generics. More than 4/5 of prescribed drugs are reimbursable in Switzerland. Norway's "step price" system for generics has ensured that generics' prices have fallen, while its "preferred product" system contains prices for reimbursables. These countries would provide good models for Canada's national pharmacare program.Oh, and our national program also needs to mesh with means-tested provincial programs already in place, such as B.C.'s "Fair Pharmacare."
  • eska 5 days ago
    It must be universal, it must be administered by the public service, there must be an evidence-based national formulary (like Quebec's), and it should not have any user fees or deductibles. Finally, it should not be funded as part of the Canada Health Transfer but instead should have a separate fund
  • Jshaban1 5 days ago
    Objectives of a national pharmacare program should be: 1) access to medication for all Canadians equally 2) more efficient management of medication nationally to avoid shortages and difference in coverage across provinces and territories. 3) cost savings gained (individual and government) through more efficient bulk contract negotiations with manufacturers / suppliers and Reduction of the burden on health care system and a healthier population overall due to access to medication.
  • Bert 6 days ago
    Our Canadian healthcare system is long overdue for such a modernization. A national pharmacare program is the boost our faltering system requires and would be one step closer to delivering Tommy Douglas' vision for an accessible, universal, portable, comprehensive and publicly administered healthcare plan for every Canadian.
  • Bert 6 days ago
    A national pharmacare program should be universal, comprehensive and enforced nationally. Such a program would save Canadians billions of dollars which can be used to make our country even more competitive than our existing healthcare system already makes our country.
  • agingsenior 6 days ago
    to ensure most cost-effective coverage, I think it is important to have an accountability link with various governments; also all Canadian residents should be covered, and costs recovered via federal tax system
  • OBA1207 7 days ago
    National pharmacare is an opportunity to take a preventative approach to health care, and ensure everyone has access to the drugs they need. Ensuring everyone has access to the drugs they need is not only the compassionate, right thing to do, it has been routinely proven to be the most cost-effective approach to save on future long-term health care costs. Taking a preventative approach and creating a universal pharamacare program will also decrease the number of Canadian's having to leave the workforce due to preventative illness, and therefore strengthen our economy. Currently, there are too many Canadians living with a chronic illness who cannot afford the drugs they need. Specifically, I would like to point out that 57% of Canadians living with diabetes are noncompliant with therapy due to cost-related barriers. This is unacceptable. I want our national pharmacare program to invest in health care prevention, and above all, to invest in Canadians health and well-being.
  • agingsenior 7 days ago
    National pharmacare should ensure that all Canadian residents have access to out-of-hospital drug coverage at point of delivery. Terms of coverage should be universal, comprehensive, publicly administered and portable.
  • Cathealth 18 days ago
    I believe that it’s time for a universal, single-payer prescription drug plan that is accessible, comprehensive, publicly administered and portable. No Canadian should be unable to afford prescription drugs.
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      Just concerned that high income Canadians who can afford to pay drug costs and often have a private insurance plan should NOT be included in a new "universal" drug program. Funding for this program should go to those in need - not those who can already afford their drug costs.
      • Len Webster 7 days ago
        To achieve the reduction in drug prices, it has to be everyone. Everyone in one risk pool to achieve the best prices. I won't say "two tiered" because that is a loaded term, but the practice of filling gaps drives costs UP, not down. See Quebec, highest drug prices in Canada.
  • Len Webster 7 days ago
    I agree with the conclusions of the Standing Committee on Health. A single-payer model for out-of-hospital drugs. This is the only way to marshal the maximum buying power and get the best prices. Longer term this should of course be extended to devices, and there is no reason that vision and dental should not be treated the same as every other medical service. The productivity and quality of life of toothless blind people is not to be envied.
  • Lorraine 7 days ago
    Pharmacare should assist persons with named medical conditions, ie diabetes, etc. There is too much money spent on reviving drug addicts who chose to inflict themselves whereas aging people develop named conditions due to long years of hard work or general aging. As a diabetic with insurance, there are so many items I buy that are not covered. I am a healthy diabetic but at 67 know my body is breaking down a little at a time. I feel there is more need for assistance from somewhere. I have an income but budget faithfully and strict but I also choose not to do certain things with friends because I need the money for meds. If Pharmacare could cover Naturopath remedies, I believe a lot of people would go that route instead of Big drug companies. I could be wrong but there is quite an argument toward it.
  • hfraught 18 days ago
    To ensure all Canadians - regardless of income level - are able to receive the drugs/treatment they require to lead a healthy, productive lifestyle. No Canadian should go without the medication they need: not only is this inhumane, it also often costs us more in the long run. A national program needs to be fair, cost-effective and transparent.
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      not "REGARDLESS OF THEIR INCOME LEVEL". The very wealthy do not need taxpayer funded drug coverage.
    • Cassie132 11 days ago
      I agree. Having a child (now 32 years old) who suffers with generalized refractory epilepsy and now polycystic kidney disease. If it wasn't for my husbands company benefits, we would've lost everything, including our son. I could not work, because of our son's seizures. But soon my husbands benefits won't cover him, because of retirement. There is no way he can afford the medication he takes a day. His meds on average over $400.0 a month! How is he to afford the meds after there is no coverage? Canadians need a universal pharma plan. Canadians like my son who depend on medications to live, will die.
    • concernednewfoundlander 7 days ago
      I agree. We do not limit our healthcare to those who make under X thousand a year. This is a dangerous limit to set because small increases in pay can bump someone over the threshold, and cost them much more. Not only that, but by offering it to anyone less than everyone means those excluded will see it as a target to cut when times are tough and there needs to be cuts made in government spending. If everyone benefits, it won't be as easy a target as before
  • healthcare101 15 days ago
    Working in the healthcare field, I have seen many things. regardless of financial status, race, age,medical situations, all peoples have the right to have there pharmaceutical needs meet. Universal for all Canadians. The government has had alot of time to fix this problem without success full well knowing that peoples will decided to live without food if they have to, but they don't need to do that, at least not when we as Canadians have a voice. Now it is time that we fix it as a Country together for the individuals that live in it. Everyone has the right to live, to eat and to have their medical prescriptions covered regardless of cost. Universal and together for eachother. If we do not make that stand and have that voice as Canadians for people, then who will?. I hope that you will all agree.
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      Concerned that those with high incomes (over $90,000) should not be eligible for universal drug coverage. New pharma care program should concentrate on 1) lower income patients, 2) patients with chronic disease who cannot afford medicine (such as insulin) and 2) children and seniors. With no employer pension, those over 65 cannot afford medications.
      • healthcare101 11 days ago
        All Canadians should have the opportunity and eligibility because they are a Canadian Citizen, regardless of what there income is, medical conditions,status, race or gender. Otherwise, you are allowing the government to judge and so far, they have done plenty of that and so are you doing the same. Let the judges judge, lets work together for everyone's benefit, for all Canadians.
      • GoExpos 8 days ago
        We DO NEED to improve our tax system so that the high income people, and Corporations, pay their fair share of taxes, instead of hiding money in offshore havens, getting deductions for all kinds of things and simply refusing to pay. (Even when they're caught, the Gov't accepts an arrangement for them to pay back "a percentage" of what they owe). With such a system, I'd be happy to pay for everyone to have the drugs they need. (And it's more efficient than trying to calculate who can afford what, which would cost a fortune.
      • concernednewfoundlander 7 days ago
        While I absolutely agree that the lower ends of our society cannot make ends meet on the current system, I think it's important that all Canadians be able to use this plan, automatically, similar to the Medicare system. While many of the lower ends will make so little they will barely contribute to the program, the higher ends will be picking up the slack in their tax bill. Their buy-in is required in this program as well for it to work, and if they are not included, they are not likely to buy in. By providing an automatic system everyone is eligible for, you there is no question about if people deserve it and also significantly less risk of a rising floor, meaning more people get left out. If the cap were to be under 25, over 65 or makes less than X thousand yearly, a minor pay increase could bump someone out of the program that desperately needs it, and when times get tough financially, the government can push to expand it to under 20, over 65, and then over 70, even lower income thresholds. Universal means that all people can benefits automatically, not just like a welfare system for the select few that will create animosity and end up the target of governments to come
  • concernednewfoundlander 7 days ago
    While many Canadians have insurance coverage which will cover and support them in regards to prescriptions, it often leaves them with coverage gaps. For many people, making less than a living wage, the added cost of insurance is a necessary evil, but one that is too hard to cover, meaning they have to go without. Whether it's the monthly cost for a retired citizen, the high bill for a new worker, or just the extra added bill for a young family, it can be very taxing. Add to that, when prescriptions are excluded, and copays are high, it creates a barrier to essential medications. A national pharmacare plan should be available to every citizen, automatically, with full coverage of all prescribed medications and drugs. There should be no coverage gaps for diabetes medication, OCPs and any other medications a doctor declares is medically necessary. If a program is instituted with the design to be offered only to low wage citizens, certain age groups or other targets, it creates barriers, which can be harmful, as those just outside of those hard limits will not be able to avail and will see no gain, which defeats the purpose of the program. National universal pharmacare is a huge undertaking, but similar to healthcare, can be done. Through proper regulation, Canada can control the pharmacare market to ensure that prescription drug prices are in line with the rest of the world, and not American standards. This will significantly lower the cost to the public purse. While universal healthcare will still exist and require funding, some stress will be released, as citizens will be able to get a prescription and take it as required, without worry of how much it will cost. This will reduce doctor and hospital visits for medication compliance in many, but will also have the added benefit of increasing the overall health of Canadians, increasing productivity in the workplace, which will have other economic benefits. Even with reduced costs and increased profits through other areas, there will be a need to increase taxes marginally to pay for this, but doing so is something we have done before with healthcare, and the increase is one that we can take as a nation for the collective good. With the need for pharmacare no longer needed in private insurance, premiums will go down, which means many will no longer pay near as much for insurance as they currently do. If insurance companies make profits, and are required to pay the regular prices for medications, or even negotiated ones, then a national plan with contributions from all taxpayers should be similar, or lower in cost than an average private plan.
  • Jdmh 7 days ago
    Simply, make it universal (like our Medicare) and single-payer (like our Medicare) or little of lasting quality or cosistency with our national aspirations will have been achieved. Thank you.
  • RogerS 7 days ago
    1. To unify the procurement of medical drugs under one payer, the government, which has the scale to negotiate drug prices fairly with private manufacturers and suppliers.2. To distribute medical drugs on the basis of need rather than ability to pay.3. To monitor the prescription of drugs and the progress of medical research into efficacy and side-effects of the same, with power to alter which drugs are available under the single-payer system.
  • Pax 7 days ago
    To provide every Canadian with access to needed medications without financial barriersTo reduce the costs to Canadians of prescription medications
  • Michael Spencer 8 days ago
    National Pharmacare is essential for the Canadian economy, as prominent economists have calculated that the bulk buying of prescription drugs for all Canadians will not only save money by improving the medicare costs in all areas but will also reduce drug costs significantly , hence reducing overall Federal and Provincial expenditures when enacted quickly and in spite of deficite federal budgets related to G.N.P.
  • Chroniesince2007 8 days ago
    As someone who has depended on private insurance coverage since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2007. I have been painfully aware of what it costs for me to stay healthy. For one current medication it costs over $ 3500 a month. It would be very easy for me to say sure a universal pharmacare plan would be great. I would love to stop paying for my 10 percent out of pocket and the plan cost. I would love to stop worrying about coverage. Do people realize there are many people just like me on super expensive medications. One in 150 people have IBD in Canada and this rate is expected to rise in the years to come. Many people have autoimmune disease that require Biologics which cost big money. Can this program support these kind of costs ? What kind of program could? How will tax payers afford a program like this? You cannot provide access to only to certain populations and pass on the bill to those working and paying for private plan and out pocket expenses. . There should be a fee for using the program to cover some of the cost like a drug plan. Limited access to medication is not a great idea unless they exclude things like cialis which are not life or death.
  • John Bjore 11 days ago
    Health Care, including prescription drugs, is a right of all Canadians and must be fully funded from public funds. A 1% increase in the GST will raise $20 - $25 billion to support a National Pharmacare Program.
  • Memememe 11 days ago
    Program should be universal - let the rich pay via claw back in their taxes rather than discriminating in public benefits.
  • davidg 11 days ago
    Now retired and living in BC I have found that to pay for our precrition drugs and dental care my wife and I need not just one but two private health-care plans, the cost of which totals about $250.00 per month. This is a significant draw on our monthly pension income, yet the plans are not at all generous, having substantial deductibles and not covering anything at all major in detail care, such as crowns or bridges. Frankly, i feel we are being ripped off by the private health insurance sector and receiving inadequate service in return for unduly expensive premiums. The situation in BC is worse than in Alberta, where we previously lived before retiring. Obviously there needs to be parity among provinces and the way to get that is to have a national pharmacare program that also includes full dental care.
  • Chrisjcr 19 days ago
    should be like private car insurance, you need to have it, and a competitive market offers different levels of coverage based on how much your willing to pay. This will create competition and efficiency. The government can regulate the acceptable profit margin, like a utility, to ensure the value goes to the people and not profits.
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    • GoExpos 19 days ago
      The last thing I want is private pharmacare. At my age, and as I get older, I have no interest in looking at dozens of options, all promoted with gimics and propaganda, to try to find an appropriate and not too costly pharmacare coverage. Competition and efficiency are certainly not guaranteed, when there are mergers, misleading information, political lobbying etc. I think that there should be one system, run by the government, that provides equal and complete coverage to all.
  • dlhealth 18 days ago
    Universal coverage for all prescribed medications regardless of income or location.
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      Not regardless of income. Focus should be on those who can not afford their medications - due to chronic illness, low income, disability or age (seniors on low incomes.)
  • allyismydog 18 days ago
    Every Canadian should be able to afford the health care that he or she needs, provided there is sufficient evidence to support a given intervention.National pharmacare should embrace the following principles:1) Available to all Canadians, regardless of their income.2) Funded by a blended model, including i) a fee per prescription (to a maximum amount per month; reduced to zero for low income); ii) employer health care levy (very modest); and iii) federal health care tax (geared to income, to a maximum of $300 per family, for example)3) National drug formulary based on evidence based therapies, those that result in the best patient outcomes including improved quality of life, reduced health care utilization (insulin pumps), and improved QALYs (quality adjusted life years). Expensive medications for rare diseases (biologics) should also be covered, perhaps through a review process. Different formularies may be necessary for aboriginal communities, veterans, seniors, and refugees. A review process for drugs not on the formulary must also exist.
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      Regardless of their income? No way. There needs to be an income test to focus the budget for this program on those genuinely and financially in need.
  • Memememe 18 days ago
    I favour a universal pharmacy care program on the same basis as the existing canadian health program. It is incoherent to provide health services but not the medications required to remedy the diseases or injuries being treated. I would accept a small users fee and assume that coverage is limited to prescription drugs..
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      Canadians who cannot afford their medications should be covered. Not the wealthy Canadians, most of whom have private health insurance anyway. The Sun Life health benefits insurance program for federal employees should be audited and investigated. It won't pay for many of my drugs, despite the premiums I pay. This is the fault of Treasury Board who negotiated the contract with Sun Life on behalf of federal employees and those retired. Yet private companies insured with Sun Life offer much better drug coverage for their employees. Federal employees are being treated unfairly by Sun Life.
  • Izzy 18 days ago
    Affordable drugs for every Canadian regardless of income. It should be paid for as a premium by people who make over a certain level of income
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  • saucywenchns 17 days ago
    I am one of the many Canadians who has to choose food and rent over the cost of basic healthcare, such as perscriptions, over the counter drugs, basic dental care, eye glasses... I am not unique in my situation and in my research found that 20% of people leaving a doctor's office know they cannot afford to fill the perscription they are given. I am just a low income Canadian who is now suffering the consequences of lack of basic healthcare. In 10 years I should be retiring, but I know I won't ever be able to do that. I would like to see free basic healthcare for all Canadians, free total healthcare for a low income families and individuals, regardless of age... With the buying power of a country a nominal co pay or yearly contruibution will make it easier for all Canadian families to not worry about how the possibility of a major illness could wipe them out financially... The stress should be about getting well, not if you can afford to treat... The most important thing to remember is that Canada and Canadians are paying for it all now, it is a matter of restructuring how it is funded. It will actually save money and have a healthier country....
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      The key here is "free health care (and prescriptions) for low income Canadians and seniors. No one should do without needed medications because they can't afford them.
  • hutchb 15 days ago
    1. Ensure universal access to all medically necessary prescription drugs without financial barriers (e.g., premiums, co-payments, deductibles)2. Reduce total (public plus private) costs of prescription drugs in Canada
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    • Nellie 11 days ago
      Universal access means those with high incomes ALSO get free coverage. This is not right. Perhaps we need a means test. Does our Prime Minister need free drugs? I think not!
  • Nellie 11 days ago
    My Sun Life health insurance does not cover all my medical expenses, including some prescriptions (including dicyclomine HCL and medical marijuana oil for pain treatment). Physiotherapy coverage is insufficient. Also orthopedic shoes not covered ($682). Does not cover pharmacy made creams for pain treatment. My uninsured medical expenses are approximately $1800/year. We need a national pharma care program - especially for those over 65 years.
  • Nipper 1942 11 days ago
    As a former health care worker I feel that Canada needs a National, universal single payer prescription drug plan.It should be accessible,comprehensive. It needs to be portable, and publicly administered. I saw too many of my patients end up in hospital because they could not find the money to buy the prescription ordered.
  • juliem 12 days ago
    I believe in a universal pharmacare program with no restrictions. The minute you place restrictions is the minute you add expensive administration costs to handling of claims. If you want to make it fair then it would be better to increase federal income taxes since the more you earn the more tax you pay. I would imagine it would be a lot less administration and cost to do it that way. Not only that but I don't imagine I would be paying anymore than I already do when I subsidize my senior mom and my children in their 20s who can't afford their prescriptions whether they are antibiotics for a once off situation or regularly forchronic conditions. I've stood in line watching people asking if they can purchase less than the prescribed number of pills because they can't afford to pay for a full batch. Which means that they have to pay another dispensing fee to get the rest of their pills when they do have more money. We need this for dental and eyecare as well.
  • lijast 12 days ago
    The Medicare program was set up so everyone had access to medical care. I think the same should apply to Pharmacare and that is that every person should have equal access to meet a family's needs.
  • DKendel 13 days ago
    Our National pharmacare program should utilize national bulk purchaser bargaining power to assure optimally cost effective medication services for all Canadians
  • HealthProgress 13 days ago
    The pharmacare program should have the following objectives:- use national bulk purchasing to ensure best prices for medications (see NZ price for atorvastatin vs Canada)- tie pricing for medications to efficacy, based on the scientific literature. Many expensive medications work only marginally better than cheaper generics.- a single-payer, universal pharmacare, so small businesses are relieved of the burden of providing expensive private health insurance (avg cost $8300 per employee per year!)The program must be evidence-based, efficient, and universal.
  • trashpanda 13 days ago
    Practice guidelines for medication use should be developed without sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies in any way. Those appointed to develop guidelines should not have any financial conflicts of interest and certainly if allowed to present information should not have a vote in recommending the final guidelines. Currently many of our practice guidelines in Canada are developed by those who have received funding from pharma and this is not ok.
  • PET 13 days ago
    I believe in a universal pharmacare program so that everyone feels invested in it. As well, there should be savings by buying as one large market, as opposed to the smaller market of individual provinces.
  • concerned citizen 13 days ago
    I do not believe in a totally free system, I do believe in a fair means test. I also believe that the federal government should not only control the distribution of drugs but should also control the entire health care system. It is the job of the Federal Government to protect its citizens. Canadians should be able to travel anywhere in Canada and expect the same standard of medical treatment. To start, the Federal Government should cover all the drugs that each province in Canada have already agreed to cover. We do not need an expensive system like the one that the U.S. loves to protect for Insurance Company’s.
  • trashpanda 13 days ago
    National pharmacare should be universally available, a defined national formulary of drugs with robust long term data that support their use for defined conditions (as in New Zealand). Choosing Wisely should be promoted for patients and physicians about the limits and harms of medications (ie overuse of drugs such as proton pump inhibitors) The need for employer and private drug plans should be phased out as these plans are patchwork and do not completely cover the cost. Contraception should be widely available and with no cost at point of care as it is in the NHS. Direct to consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals should be banned. Pharmaceutical companies payments to physicians over a certain $ amount (10-20) should be publically available. Bulk buying should allow the government to keep prices for the drugs covered low. Pharmacies should have to follow strict conflict of interest policies as well. The financing should be through general tax revenues and experts in drug and pharmacare policy, from Canada and internationally should be consulted about implementation.
  • lokumsalpha 14 days ago
    Uniform coverage of prescription meds: all ages, all jurisdictions. Limits on prices paid by gov't for drugs (no more Shkrelis).
  • LikeWater 17 days ago
    I think that generic drugs that are truly necessary should be covered for all.That brings up the bigger problem: How do we ensure that doctors only prescribe what's truly necessary and that they only prescribe generics?I have worked as an MOA for a little while, so I know how much access the drug companies get to the doctors' time - buying them lunches, so they can extol the virtue of their latest drug.And how do we avoid patients pressuring doctors into prescribing them drugs?
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  • Hoover 14 days ago
    As with other universal programs, it should be for everyone. There should be no means test. If we taxed accordingly, than it would be equitable. The cost of not having universal healthcare that includes pharmacare and long term care is much higher financially and to society, than providing it. The only people who benefit from our current model are pharmaceutical companies.
  • bclawyer 17 days ago
    I am in favour of universal free pharmacare coverage for all. There are many working families who struggle to pay for medications not just seniors. To have free medical care but to be unable to pay for the medications to treat the results of that medical care is a national shame. This abnormality in our system needs to be addressed. Universal medical coverage has to include drugs. To argue otherwise is a fallacy. Dental care and vision care should also be included at some stage.
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  • islandgirl18 16 days ago
    To ensure that everyone can get their prescription drugs free of charge, just like their hospital visits and doctor visits.
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    • HVM 14 days ago
      or at least base costs on income. The government did away with healthcare premiums reducing revenue by 1 billion. Low income earners were exempt from paying any healthcare premiums now are provincial government is in debt 1 billion would certainly help
  • Sunny_58 15 days ago
    The objective should be to make prescriptions accessible to Canadians of all ages, income levels, and circumstances. I would like to see a universal, single-payer prescription drug plan in Canada. The cost of living has increased across B.C., for example, and wages in most industries have not increased substantially in years. For young, employed people like myself, rental housing is very expensive and difficult to find, gas costs more, and goods and services cost more. It's hard to commit to yet another significant cost. I have friends who struggle with mental health issues, and they have to choose what groceries they can buy each week because they have to be able to pay for their medication. As for myself, I've gone without medication before for that reason. I wish I could afford those things that make life more meaningful - vacations, a pet, fitness activities and hobbies, but I'm not able to afford them. Most of the young people I know fall into this category even while employed full-time. Add in the huge number of people in debt (student loan or otherwise), and you have a financially-strapped population who find paying for prescriptions very difficult.
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    • HVM 14 days ago
      Agree and I would add at least any fitness activities should be tax deductible since keeping fit and staying active improves health. Money spent on social activities have a positive impact on health care spending.
  • HVM 14 days ago
    provide affordable healthcare to all Canadians
  • melpharma 14 days ago
    Pharmacare should have been include in Canadian Medicare from the start. Implemented correctly, it could provide an inclusive and effective lower cost system for all Canadians. I am all for an ethical system for all.
  • dturkboutilier 14 days ago
    People with chronic illness that require dialysis treatments three times a week also have numberous comorbitities. Often requiring numberous medications to maintain better health and less visits to the emergency . Even with additional health coverage many medications hold a high cost and additional out-of-pocket costs. With chronic illness comes disability and the inability to work which furthers the financial burden. People will choose to pay housing costs, food costs and other costs prior to the high costs of medication. This then will increase hospital visits and lengthy hospital stays at a much higher cost to the system than providing attainable medication. We need a national pharmacare system so that it takes the burden off the health care system.
  • pharmacareforall 15 days ago
    Equity, affordability, accessibility.
  • flswenor 15 days ago
    With Pharmacare costs rising steadily and story's of seniors splitting pills and 1/2 dosing because they cant afford their pills the government could leverage its buying power on behalf Canadians to bring pharma care costs down to an affordable level for ALL Canadians. They would also stand up to greedy pharma care executives who would place profit ahead of peoples dire need for treatment.Frank SwenorHamilton, ON
  • Insulin4All 15 days ago
    I'm in my late 20s and have had type 1 diabetes since I was 14.As a teenager, my medication and supplies were covered under my parents' insurance, which was extended during my university years. Since I left school at 23, I've been paying out of pocket for all my insulin and testing supplies, a bill which comes to about $5,000 each year. I was already over the age of 25 when the Liberals' OHIP + was introduced, and never qualified for public insurance.I am also working as a contract employee, as I have been since 2015, with no private benefits or insurance coverage at all. My family and I continue to pay my medical bills out of pocket.Life sustaining medication, such as insulin and diabetic testing supplies - for Type 1 (chronic) - should not have to be paid for by the individual and his or her family. This is an incredible gap in our health care system, where young adults who have left post-secondary school and have yet to land a full time position - if that's even where they choose to go with their life; many don't - remain financially responsible for their life sustaining treatments, where if those bills are not paid and treatment isn't received, they -we- die.
  • lazysnake 15 days ago
    If there were to be an even very basic type of Pharmacare, it should cover drugs that are commonly used and ones in which failure to use would cause health consequences for the individual. A few examples would be antibiotics, diabetic meds & equipment, synthroid, estrogen and other hormone replacements, heart meds and antidepressants. As a healthcare worker, I see the direct results of those who can't afford medications. Lots of poor and mentally ill people coming into hospital with full blown infections, ulcers from uncontrolled diabetes and depression & suicide attempts to name a few. If we could give these people the meds they need at no cost to them, it could drastically cut down on hospital visits resulting in savings to the healthcare system as a whole.
  • Dlipton 15 days ago
    Pharmaceuticals are an essential part of health care and Canada should join the majority of advanced nations in making Pharmacare an integral part of public health care. It will lead to better health outcomes, a more fair society, and major economic savings plus it will make Canada a better place for employers to do business.
  • oldman1942 15 days ago
    I am a senior living on Government pensions, Old Age and Canada Pension. My wife had cancer(melanoma) and much of her medication and supplies was not covered by Pharmacare in our province. As a result I was faced with a huge bill to pay after her death. It took me several years and lots of hardship to recover. Even today I have needs, like new dentures and an eye operation to correct a cataract. These are not covered by any plan. The lens replacement is $250. If we had a Universal Drug Plan or national pharmacare program things would certainly be much better. I am certain that many more seniors are in the same situation. Come on Canada, look after your seniors and anyone in need.
  • cindycato 16 days ago
    Before my mother died, in her old age, she was ashamed to tell me that she could not afford to buy proper food or new dentures because her medicines ate up most of her disposable income once her rent and utilities were paid for. My partner and I subsidized her pharmaceutical expenses for the last 10 years of her life so she could live in dignity. No one should be deprived of necessary medical assistance - whether it is a trip to the doctor or prescriptions. A universal national pharmacare plan is the right step to take if we truly want to show we are a compassionate nation that values the dignity of all our citizens. The time is right to add this to our social safety net
  • samothkead 17 days ago
    The concept of a National Pharmacare program is one of the best ideas the Federal Government has ever had as it will allow access to much needed medications to all Canadians. Universal Health Care has made huge changes to our society and Universal Pharmacare will do the same!! I hope that a National Pharmacare Program is implemented as soon as possible!!
  • Health4all 17 days ago
    To provide Canadians with coverage for appropriate medication to help optimize function, productivity and quality of life in addition to promoting all mind-body healthy lifestyle behaviours.
  • sapientiadei 17 days ago
    Two objectives come to mind:One would be regulating the pharmaceutical industry to ensure price and quality are aligned with Canadian values and realities;Accessible drugs for those most vulnerable. I am not in favour of general categories like seniors. Many seniors i know can afford much more than many people who are younger and struggling. The scale of availability should be based on individual revenue with those on the higher scale of income helping provide access to those on the lower scale.
  • CitizenZero 17 days ago
    The objective should be fair access for everyone. I gather that in Britain, retired people do not have to pay for drugs, nor do people on welfare. The working poor can apply for a low income certificate (although the name may have changed for this) and also get free prescriptions. All others pay a nominal fee for a prescription - about 12 dollars. Some variation of this seems fair.
  • Jezebel 18 days ago
    No drug costs for seniors
    Reply Do you agree? Agree 4 Disagree 1 Alert moderator Hide reply (1)
    • CitizenZero 17 days ago
      It's not only many seniors who need drugs to be subsidized. Many young families struggle these days and can barely afford rent or a mortgage. A nominal fee for drugs might help fund the system, or else some kind of means test so that it is fair.
  • Healthy123 18 days ago
    It should be obvious to anyone who has the power, if you can purchase at a bulk price instead of letting big pharmaceutical companies gouge people who are sick or vulnerable, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Not everyone has the finances or help to afford what should be available to all. Even a SMALL yearly deductible would help everyone in need of help when at their weakest. Please move quickly on this very needed affordable opportunity for ALL Canadians.
  • Dinah 18 days ago
    I agree with a lot of the many comments below, however I would like to point out that it is very important that our pharmacare be universal with only one payer (the government). This is the simplest method, and allows that payer to negotiate MUCH better deals on the costs of the drugs as New Zealand does. Secondly it is important to note that, as opposed to when Medicare was originally introduced in the 60s, there has been a large movement to treatment with drugs, and a move to use them in the home rather than in hospital, even cancer drugs these days. By making these drugs available at no cost to patients, a lot of hospital visits can be avoided, saving the ton of money it costs to treat people in hospital. Also, it makes no sense from a system perspective to pay for a doctor visit and not enable the patient to follow the doctor's treatment plan. Regarding co-payments, I would question if they are worth it, considering the costs of administering such a plan--would that not just use up the value of the co-payment anyway?
  • Cx1959 18 days ago
    Universal prescription coverage for people who have to choose between food or medicine. In an industrialized modern society, nobody should have to go without. We’ve misplaced our values to a point where human life is expendable so long as we’re at arms length and can’t see it because we’re too busy chasing the almighty dollar. Time to take care of our society.
    Reply Do you agree? Agree 8 Disagree 0 Alert moderator Hide reply (1)
    • Dinah 18 days ago
      Yes, that's called the social gap--when the people high up don't encounter the vulnerable themselves on any kind of regular basis, it no occurs to them what conditions and privations they are living under.
  • BusinessBarrier 18 days ago
    There are many young working Canadians who do not have any pharmacare coverage because they do not have an employer. They are self employed. This means that whatever medication they need they would have to pay for which in many cases is unaffordable. When a person is retired all of their costs come from their own pocket unless they pay for insurance, which again, can be very costly. There should be one public insurance company that will cover all people’s pharmacare needs based on the assessment from their doctors. It should be made available to all.
  • frankanderson 18 days ago
    Where a prescription is required for a medical condition, which is prescribed by a competent physician, it should be provided! Drug companies inflate prices that one provider/government can monitor for fairness. Many persons on limited incomes must choose to fill prescriptions, or buy food, or other necessities of life. This truly is a social program that would be helpful across the whole Canadian population!
  • 1871alex 18 days ago
    The chief objective of a plan that provides coverage for all is that there be one insurer, and that insurer be a public insurer. Why? Contrast health coverage in the U.S. with Canada. In Canada there is one public insurer for medicare while in the U.S. multiple private insurers are involved. In 2016 the U.S. spent 17.9% of its GDP on health coverage In 2017 Canada spent approximately 11.5% of its GDP on health Did the U.S. gain a benefit by spending much more? No. Life expectancy in Canada exceeds that of the U.S.
  • DP1963 18 days ago
    Access to prescription medications, as an essential part of health care, is a fundamental human right currently denied to many Canadians due to cost. It is of the utmost priority that a National Phamacare program be installed in this country to make it a fairer and more just society.
  • Crone13 18 days ago
    Everyone needs to be able to access the drugs they need. (Also dental care should be free and hearing aids should be free or at he very least subsidized. Also glasses. I need dental work, I am in debt for hearing aids, and I spent some of my meagre savings on glasses.) There should be no deductibl;e for drugs. What makes the government think I have and extra $300 at the beginning of every year?
  • Hurt 18 days ago
    I a m a senior with extended health coverage for drugs etc., but too often some prescriptions are not covered at all. E.g. ALL eye drops, the latest blood-pressure meds etc. Hearing aids are scandalously over-priced, resulting in too many seniors forgoing them.
  • Missy 18 days ago
    it’s time for a universal, single-payer prescription drug plan that is accessible, comprehensive, publicly administered and portable. Our universal health care should go hand in hand with universal pharmacare. Time to look upstream and practice preventative measures. Promote health and wellbeing is our goal. Canadians need this.
  • treidlinger 18 days ago
    A national pharma care program is good public policy. If done right it will save money and improve our health care system as people will reduce hospital visits if taking the medication as prescribed. It makes sense on so many levels and is the right thing to do for a healthier population.
  • dfs1952 18 days ago
    Parmacare should be like Medicare. All Canadians should have access, free for drugs they need. Canada should be leading the way in research and prevention. No one should have to choose not to take medication for financial reasons.
  • charrion 18 days ago
    A healthcare pharmacy program where ANY drug prescribed by a licensed practitioner is covered is a minimum. I am a type 2 diabetic with major depressive disorder and anxiety and three of the medicines I require to live are not covered by BC "Fair" Pharmacare. I can only afford these medicines because I'm lucky enough to earn an above average wage with an employer that provides extended medical coverage that covers non-Pharmacare drugs up to 50%. Even so, my personal drug costs total more than $2000.00 per year. I can't imagine how someone similarly afflicted without my fortunate circumstances could afford the medication required to live. I'm also creeping uncomfortably close to retirement, where I will be reduce to a fixed income and likely no extended benefits.In the current climate I may have to decide whether to miss doses in order to afford the simple cost of living. That is not what Canadians should ever have to consider.
    Reply Do you agree? Agree 9 Disagree 0 Alert moderator Hide reply (1)
  • Kennicho 18 days ago
    The objectives of the National Pharmacare Program should be to cover the costs of prescription drugs, at the time of purchase for all Canadians, especially those over the age of 65. There should be no co-payments or deductibles. The program should be fully funded by the Federal Government.
  • Jordymushka 18 days ago
    It should cover all prescriptions, I have a transplanted kidney and pay out of my own pocket over $6000.00. I have to do without other necessaries in order to pay for my drugs. I get a transplant in order to live a better life but paying for the drugs has made my life a struggle. It would benefit many people who live with a transplant and people who live on a fixed income live a better life.
  • venceremos 18 days ago
    Nearly one in ten Canadians cannot afford their prescription drugs. Too many people have to choose between paying for their prescription meds or putting groceries on the table. It’s time for a universal, single-payer prescription drug plan that is accessible, comprehensive, publicly administered and portable.
    Reply Do you agree? Agree 9 Disagree 0 Alert moderator Hide reply (1)
    • Captain 18 days ago
      Conceptually you are correct. Unfortunately the way National Pharmacare will work is that less drugs will be available to the other 90% of patients who have coverage. That makes no sense to me. If National Pharmacare is about more drugs being available to my family, I’m all for it.
  • lamartin506 18 days ago
    Canadians are suffering, plain and simple! Many cannot afford their necessary prescriptions even if they are fortunate enough to have a health care plan. Many plans do not cover necessary prescriptions and force you to have a dr. fill out expensive forms which are also an out of pocket expense, only to be denied again! I myself had a very good job with a good income compared to most, but yet I had to cut my meds in half as I couldn't afford to purchase them monthly. It is in the best interest of Canadians to ensure they receive the drugs needed to better manage their health so that furthur complications do not arise costing the health care system far more in the long run. Also, many families live in poverty and the cost of a prescription can be the choice between purchasing it or buying groceries.
  • demdiabetes 18 days ago
    The government should be willing and able to cover the costs of essential live saving prescriptions. I think that providing these life saving drugs can reduce costs at hospitals because less people will find themselves in the position where they can't afford these live saving prescriptions and end up in the hospital from complications. I do believe that non life saving drugs should be eventually covered or reduced in price to help those who need them the most. As someone who lives with type 1 diabetes and relies on insulin to keep myself alive everyday I really think that essential drugs like insulin should be covered. No one should have to worry about if they can afford a drug that keeps them alive.
  • fish 18 days ago
    I am not a socialist but 30 million + Canadians have better purchasing power than one province at a time. This a no-brainer.
  • leslea_kate 18 days ago
    A plan whereby all Canadians have a baseline coverage for all the medications they end up needing is essential to be a truly universal healthcare plan (not to forget the need for the same regarding glasses, hearing aids, dental & denture needs, as well as fully funded ambulance services).ALL people should be covered. There should be no fees for anyone, but if that's too hard, then target vulnerable for minimal/no fees, such as seniors, the disabled, low income and those on social assistance. ALL medications deemed essential for health by a certified medical doctor should be covered.No one should be forced to choose between diabetes supplies and rent. Medications or the power bill.As for how it's financed, corporations and rich citizens are hiding billions in overseas accounts. CUT THEM OFF. Get those dollars they owe and increase the tax rate on the rich and any corporation or business making over a million in profit per 100 workers. It's time the rich & profitable paid their fair share for a change. They've gotten a free ride for long enough. (doing this not only would fund all the medical bits I mentioned, but would also wipe out the national debt, and allow funding to replace crumbling infrastructure across the country, and fully fund education across the board).It's not a lack of money issue. It's a lack of money management by corrupt politicians issue as far as that goes.
  • SLshah 18 days ago
    All Canadians should be enrolled in the program. It should be a National program that maximizes the ability to purchase drugs and secure research dollars to improve the health of Canadians. A national drug registry will provide clear documentation of prescriptions, usage and potential problems. Canadians are living longer, healthier lives in great part to preventative care and drug therapy. Medication costs limit the use and best practice to address health issues. Key points1.available to all Canadians 2. transparent documentation system to safe guard use and potential misuse3. a national drug program will support equal access for all Canadians and support a buying power that will decrease costs, enhance research dollars to Canadian research and limit the power of insurance companies in making health choices based on dollars verse the good of the citizens
  • Veteran educator 18 days ago
    The program should provide a secure floor of coverage, on which people's personal and organizational plans can improve. This would remove an arbitrary and significant gap in implementing the dream of universal health care, based on need rather than money.
  • letsdance 18 days ago
    A national pharmacare program should give all Canadians equal access to necessary prescriptions regardless of the province in which they live. It should open opportunities for purchasing prescription drugs at better rates based on bulk purchasing and a single bargainer.
  • QueenBee 18 days ago
    The objectives of a national pharmacare program for Canadians should be: (1) Reduce the costs of drugs so they are affordable for everyone by using the entire country's purchasing power (includes all provinces & territories) to obtain low prices on drugs. (2) To provide low-cost or no-cost drugs to all Canadians, especially unemployed, retired seniors, handicapped persons. (3) To defray the cost of a pharmacare program, there could be a minimal co-payment plan for various sectors of the population, depending on their incomes.I think universal pharmacare would, in the long run save the country money because, as I said above, the purchasing power of the entire country could drive down the cost of drugs. And, by providing the drugs to the people who need them as they need them, would keep a lot of people from needing remedial care as a lot of low-income people skip their medications or break them down into smaller doses or don't take their medications at all because they can't afford them.I hope the government of Canada will move ahead with implementing a much-needed pharmacare program.
  • BSlawich 18 days ago
    I feel that a national pharmacare program should work to reduce costs for Canadians and the health care system overall. It should be universal and seek to cut costs for all but especially for low income and moderate income earners.
  • Gramadayna 18 days ago
    Common and inclusive and affordable access to needed drugs, regardless of where a person resides in Canada.
  • necm40 18 days ago
    A major objective for a Pharmacare program should be equality. By providing Pharmacare we will be increasing the equality of our health care system and ensuring that price is not a barrier to fellow Canadians when filling prescriptions for necessary medications.Another objective of Pharmacare should be to save Canadians money. In 2015, the total price tag associated with prescription medications was $10.8 billion (Morgan, 2017). Adding essential prescription medication coverage to our medicare system would only cost the government roughly $1.23 billion a year (Morgan, 2017). However, it will lead to us and private insurances saving $4.27 billion a year (Morgan, 2017).Morgan, S. G., Li, W., Yau, B., & Persaud, N. (2017). Estimated effects of adding universal public coverage of an essential medicines list to existing public drug plans in Canada. CMAJ, 8(189), E295-E302. Retrieved from
  • Hello 18 days ago
    It should be universal for all Canadians
  • prairievikinggurl 18 days ago
    I think the federal gov't should have bulk buying powers to ensure a large and exhaustive list of frequently prescribed medications along with the high cost meds used less frequently but necessarily for cancers, rare diseases, etc. Coverage should be income and need based, not where you live, where you work, what kind of extended health benefits you have, etc. Having a decent paying job as a single mum and getting cancer that requires $700/month just for the medication would break the bank. Being the CEO of a company making a 6 figure income with lots of perks means you could easily afford that. Being homeless, on disability or working a minimum wage job (or three) to try and make ends meet means you shouldn't have to pay anything over a very minor copay (something like $5). Diabetes supplies should be covered for everyone, no matter what, because being compliant with monitoring your blood sugar and taking your insulin means you reduce your cost to the healthcare system from complications of that horrible disease. It will take a lot of work to come up with a comprehensive program but one that is long overdue.
  • Jim Hrolf 18 days ago
    Having lived in Europe I see how in areas in Canada's health care that can be improved upon. Based on a simple fact that a healthy population is less a "burden" upon the tax system then that of an ill person. Also to what end does a Universal Health Care System that serves as an example to many other nations, sends its patients out after treatment without the necessary. Medication to recover completely or address chronic long-term life threatening illness such as diabetes , MS or any other of a host of ailments. What is the point of being diagnosed when you can't afford the cost of insulin or glucoma drops. I never understood this approach to half measures in health care
  • Feldtastic 22 days ago
    Access to the prescriptions we need at an affordable cost... with some kind of tiered reward system that sees the province pay more if a patient follows the non-medicinal health care regime. For example, if my diabetes diagnosis includes better eating and exercise then I’d also be able to get fresh fruit and veg at a discounted rate or a certain amount of money to exercise.Most important to consider - preventative costs fret covered. A govt funded gym membership, tax credit etc.(swim classes to gym memberships) can get a tax credit that’s equivalent to what
    Reply Do you agree? Agree 3 Disagree 2 Alert moderator Hide replies (2)
    • HW 22 days ago
      Though that sort of reward system sounds good in principle, just think of the bureaucratic overhead and cost to implement and track it - not worth the cost, better to spend the money educating all of us on the importance of non-medicinal factors (IMHO).
      • Jayne 18 days ago
        Unfortunately painkillers are covered by prescription subsidies. Alternatives like massage, physiotherapy, yoga and relaxation training that could address the pain issues are only available to people who can afford them. Pharmacare is only one part of the health response. When I had back pain, I went to a surgeon. I asked if he could suggest alternatives. He said, "I'm a surgeon. Don't ask me." I found a body worker and avoided surgery. But I had to make the choice to economize on everything else to regain mobility. A counselor may be more effective than a prescription but again private and effective therapy comes with a significant cost.
  • Mister 18 days ago
    Objective should be (1) universal access to all prescribed drugs. Currently some cancer patients die because they do not have private insurance to cover the cost of treatment, which can be $8000 USD per month or more. We need to be able to help everyone afford their necessary medications, while at the same time promoting healthy lifestyles so that fewer people need treatment. (2) We should provide access to new drugs in a more timely fashion. Health Canada is slow, and the provinces are often slower. These wait times deprive people of new treatments, leading to earlier death in some cases. No one wants to be the person that dies because the drug that could have saved them wasn't approved here yet.
  • peaceologist 18 days ago
    It's bothersome to me that no government has had the integrity to institute a national healthcare program given the values and needs of Canadians and it can't be done soon enough for people on the bottom of the class system, like me. Having worked for nearly 50 years for women's money and no benefits it hardly needs to be studied to reach the rational conclusion that the cost of prescriptions shouldn't be a matter of life in death in this country and governments have a responsibility to ensure that that never happens.
  • Jayne 18 days ago
    Low income people and pensioners should not have to choose between food and medications. Supplies, for example needles and test strips for diabetes, compression stockings for heart patients, etc. need to be covered as well as pills. A single provider, i.e. government agency, that can use its power to bargain with drug companies and suppliers for the most cost effective and people effective products makes most sense to me. Although provinces are responsible for health care, a joint agreement of the provinces and territories would give Canadian bargaining power in the marketplace. Consideration should be given to Canadians producing generic drugs, again to keep costs down. Income tax is a fairer way of raising revenue than passing health costs to the people whose illness reduces their ability to work and earn.
  • canadiannapoleon 18 days ago
    All prescription drugs should be universally covered
  • Lily’s mum 18 days ago
    I support healthcare in all areas for all Canadians, regardless of where they live or the politics of where they live. Coverage for prescriptions, dental etc. Would in the long run cut the costs for health care in Canada and stop us going down the slippery slope to American non-health Care! A lot of hospital care could be avoided by timely use of the right prescriptions, dental care, chiropractic etc. The first stop should be universal prescription coverage!
  • canadiannapoleon 18 days ago
    All prescription drugs should be universally covered.
  • holiday2b 20 days ago
    A pharmacare that provides coverage for basic prescriptinon drugs does not solve the problems. Coverage should include high end drugs for life saving and life sustaining purposes.
  • CGBe 21 days ago
    The objectives should be: (1) Universal coverage, (2) Timely access to a robust list of drugs, (3) Financial protection from high cost drugs and for high-cost claimants, (4) Appropriate access to drugs not on a standard national formulary. All of this should be determined by medical or financial need, not where you live or work. Since governments are often more concerned about budgets and cost control and doing-what-we've-always-done than being responsive, transparent and innovative, a role for private insurance should be seriously considered. Regulation can ensure they also act in the public interest.Beyond the drugs themselves, we should also better measure and manage prescribing and dispensing quality, provide effective education to support patient adherence to therapy, invest in prevention of chronic disease, and collect more robust data to help bureaucrats, politicians and all Canadians understand what's happening in drug insurance and across the health system. You can't manage (or govern) what you don't measure.
  • Fred.kreiner 21 days ago
    The right drug, at the right time for the right patient at a fair price. That is a something my health benefit provider has been doing for some time. This doesn't mean everyone gets the drug prescribed by their doctor, as there may be lower cost alternatives that are equally if not more effective. However, if a lower cost alternative creates problems for the patient, then it isn't the right drug and something else may be need and should be paid for. One of the big problems is the "fair price". When the same drug is offered in other jurisdictions at significantly lower prices, we are not exploiting the bulk buying power we would have as a single entity. Big pharma has not been willing to be transparent about the "product listing agreements" they have with insurance companies and benefit providers. This needs to be put out for the public because sometimes, the drugs that are being pushed by doctors and insurance providers are not necessarily the best alternative for the patient and may be overpriced.
  • Aristarchus 21 days ago
    The objective should be the same as for the mandate to provide provincial health insurance, which I understand aims to equalize opportunity by ensuring citizens aren't held back by healthcare costs.However, as awesome as our universal healthcare is in concept, in practice we haven't solved issues of inefficiency or perhaps special interests. These problems will immediately besiege universal pharmacare. The plan must include robust transparency and checks.
  • Valerie Smith 21 days ago
    I am not very good at explaining my limited views...but the inconsistencies are vast. I worked in office for Prov. Govt. and after retiring my medical plan covers me til I die. My spouse worked for Municioal Govt. His benefits ended when he turned 65. Our niece works in a small store with no medical coverage. Her husband was laid off and now he has no medical coverage for family. We all live in same City... I almost feel guilty for being one of those who has such good coverage. Also, extended health benefits are often given to employees as part of their considered earnings.. maybe that should be separated. I think Doctors should know the cost of medications before prescribing. I have had a $12.00 drug prescribed which never should have been... forcing me to have tests and medications that cost one hundred times that amount due to wrong drug for illness....also have been prescribed meds that I found I was allergic to..expensive ones, which have to be disposed of..what a waste. Maybe if meds were in sealed packages, they could be returned to pharmacies. Some Drs don’t know the cost or effect of drugs and prescribe like candy with twenty repeats... before even finding out if the pills are working....the drug companies are laughing all the way to the banks. I think the majority of Canadians feel no one should go without a required drug because of their income but doubt if any new system will achieve perfection. Thanks for letting us comment.
  • Dexter 22 days ago
    There is little debate that by ensuring people who need medications are not restricted from following their treatment regime because of costs, ultimately saves healthcare dollars. But looking at Pharmacare in isolation is to tackle one aspect of the healthcare system without due regard to the place it holds in the total spectrum of care: prevention, acute care, chronic care, public education on the use of drugs, etc. All are integrated and all are in serious need of review. Before the government takes action to implement a Pharmacare program a total reform of the system, under federal leadership to ensure equitable access to excellent healthcare across the country, should be initiated. We would move closer to the quality system envisioned fifty years ago than if we continue to allocate resources to piecemeal Humpty Dumpty together.
  • HW 22 days ago
    I support universal coverage for all Canadians. It's the right thing to do and should also reduce some of Canada's healthcare costs for individuals whose conditions worsen due to their inability to afford medications, as discussed in Dr. Danielle Martin's excellent book "Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians".There should be consistency across the country in terms of what drugs are covered. Our healthcare overall is much too varied (between regions and also between urban, rural and remote areas) in terms of treatment coverage, wait time ranges, and even the ability to access primary care. We have multi-tiered healthcare now and the ability to afford treatment is only one aspect of it.In parallel with national Pharmacare, there should be investment in education of both public and professionals, regarding the value of greater caution in both prescribing and taking medications (including over-the-counter ones), as discussed in Dr. Andrew Weil's "Mind Over Meds: Know When Drugs Are Necessary, When Alternatives Are Better - and When to Let Your Body Heal on Its Own" ... coverage and education would result in healthier Canadians, and increased healthcare equity, which has long been a prized Canadian value.
  • Marnie 22 days ago
    • keithmnop77 22 days ago
      That is a good point. We should not regard medicare and other health care as more important than safe food, safe water, and adequate housing.Some in the medical profession (especially their cartels and unions) think that medical care and medical professional salaries are some super-vital thing that is all important above all else.But they aren't. What we waste on excessive billing rates and wages (as compared to France, Germany, Japan, etc.) is lost to patient care and lost to the benefit of society as a whole (roads, education, research, the arts, etc.).Medical care is just one set of cogs in the complex machine that is our society.That said, it would be hard to convince me that introducing national pharmacare to Canada is not going to cause a huge cost increase that would jeopardize adequate food, water and housing.With pharmacare we'll probably save money on reduced drug costs and a reduced in-hospital care.But yes, I agree with you that we must remember that the taxpayers money bucket is not limitless.
      • Marnie 22 days ago
        Personally, I would like us to allow those with money to help (pay for) themselves, preferably without having to leave the country to do so, while freeing up money to better help those without, or with insufficient, money. And ending homelessness helps health immeasurably; physically, mentally, and emotionally with mental and emotional health closely intertwined with physical health.
  • mrsmg 22 days ago
    The objective is relatively simple it should be the provision of effective drugs at a nominal charge to the patient for the remedy of a defined medical condition for all Canadians. Implementation is another matter. Firstly the provincial medical model inhibits this. MD's earn a fee for a prescription (Rx) so have no incentive to minimising prescribing. They also simply do not know their drugs and or the side effects. The level of pharmacology knowledge is frighteningly low - they rely on Pharmacare's own brand of information with huge detrimental effects. This would have to be addressed to reduce prescribing to help control budgets. Many times I have to deal with patients which have been given either unnecessary drugs or the 'wrong' drug and certainly no attempt at dose reduction. This goes hand in hand with the total failure of the existing system to prevent disease by understanding pathology/etiology/signs and symptoms. The UK has an effective way of determining which drugs are 'effective' and worth the buck. It is called NICE. It is not perfect and there is some bureaucracy but its one hell of a lot better than what we have now. Determination of the effectiveness of drugs also determines cost benefit and budgets. It is no coincidence that 75% of big pharma's profits come from North America as this is last area in the western world which has not attempted to control drug costs. There are also better drug and other alternatives to medical conditions including cancer which both Provinces and the Feds have done their best to prevent but which not only could bring down the cost of healthcare but are better options for the patient. The incestuous relationship of bureaucracy, pharma, lobbyists, medical doctors is harmful to human health and should be broken. I note that this forum would enable lobbyists to post without full disclosure. In this context it should be noted I am female, in the alternative medical field but with conventional medical training and no medical coverage other than OHIP.
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    • keithmnop77 22 days ago
      The UK has the problem that while NICE approves drugs at a national level, local "health care trusts" do not have to follow NICE recommendations. So they have what they call a "postal code lottery" where your coverage depends on where you live.The NICE idea is a good one. But it should be mandatory that each province provide at least what Canada's NICE has approved. Provinces might provide more, but would be banned from providing less.
      • mrsmg 22 days ago
        Yes its not perfect but there is a post code lottery here in Ontario too. Never mind the insidious and undisclosed relationships between medical doctors and pharma which influence the choice of drug. Furthermore there is virtually no obligation to update on drugs as with the passage of time harms become evident and documented.
  • Digitalfish 22 days ago
    1. All Canadians should be provided with their legally prescribed medications.2. There can be a small co-pay. 3. The National Pharmacare program should negotiate and source medication for the entire country.4. There can be a list of 'approved' medications and mechanisms for requesting additions to the list of approved medications. (e.g., Health Canada approved medications are on the list, medications in trial or in approval process are added upon approval.) 5. There should be an appropriate mechanism to add individuals into drug trials and to add life-changing medications onto the list. 6. Nurse Practitioners, Doctors, Pharmacists and some others who may be allowed to legally prescribe medication should be consulted with recommendations for additions, changes to the list.7. Generic drugs are preferred to brand name drugs, if available. 8. Program tightly controlled via automated transmission of prescriptions directly from medical practitioner to pharmacy and subject to audit.
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    • keithmnop77 22 days ago
      I agree, but on point 5 (experimental drugs) I have these thoughts:a) Government should primarily focus on funding drug trials for new uses of drugs that are out of patent. It only makes sense that pharmacare (or any drug insurance monopoly) would help fund research into new uses of existing drugs with expired patents that are now available in generic form.)Pharmaceutical companies won't fund such research because without a new patent, with other companies free to make the same thing, they cannot jack up prices to recoup the cost of their research.b) Government should also help fund drug trials for orphan drugs, drugs for extremely rare illnesses, drugs where there is no commercial market and expectation of profit to cause commercial pharmaceutical companies to fund research themselves.c) I'm not sure the government should be funding things like "Phase III Trials" to determine the effectiveness of patented drugs that will sold to Canadians at full market price. (If we do fund research into drugs, that should translate into a discount on the drug we helped fund.)But basically I agree with Digitalfish.
  • keithmnop77 22 days ago
    I anticipate that there will be a huge amount of lobbying from the existing benefits and package drug coverage companies to limit what national pharmacare offers.The committee and MPs should ignore them.Give all Canadians the same coverage that the Government of Canada has taxpayers provide for MPs, government employees, and so on.Same drug formulary. Same deductible.Taxpayers should not be forced to provide better coverage for special groups than they provide each other.And ill taxpayers should not be held hostage for the profits of private health insurance companies and corporate benefits consultants.
  • keithmnop77 22 days ago
    Pharmacare should cover medicines for all illnesses, not just the popular illnesses with strong lobby groups.One of my shames was that my diabetes supplies were 100% covered here in Manitoba. Whereas people with less common illnesses, illnesses without strong lobby groups, faced very steep deductibles.Someone with rheumatoid arthritis has to come up with the deductible to cover their very expensive ($10,000) rituximab or orencia, $3,000 maybe $5,000 twice a year. (Full disclosure, I a similar illness.) And they may have to do that regardless of whether they are too disabled to work. Whereas a diabetes patient doesn't have to cough up their deductible.This year that changed in Manitoba, and now diabetes supplies are covered under our Pharmacare like any other covered medication, subject to the same deductible. This is how it should be.I gather there is something similar with cancer drugs. You take rituximab for cancer and it is free. You take it for an autoimmune disease and you've got to pay the deductible.Coverage should be the same for all illnesses. Cost should be a factor. Disability should be a factor. The strength of that diseases political lobbying group should not be.
  • keithmnop77 22 days ago
    I'm a senior and to me it is shameful that many provinces has pharmacare for the elderly but not for young parents. It reminds me of in the USA, under Obama, and some groups of seniors down there campaigned against extending medicare to young people, young parents, young adults, because they feared their own coverage would be cut back.Nobody was talking about cutting back anything, but here were this small group of very vocal seniors campaigning against young adults and young parents getting medicare coverage.I thought to myself, IF things ever got desperate, IF we ever had to pick and chose in that way, I would vote to cover children and young adults, then the middle-aged, then young seniors, then the elderly. If we get sick and cannot work, at least we've got the pensions we've earned and GIS.So I'm very much against age discrimination in pharmacare.Fortunately I'm in Manitoba, and we've mostly entirely eliminated age discrimination here.The things we have not been able to do is to reduce our pharmacare deductible to a reasonable level.True equity requires means tests to test all wealth, not just income. The trust fund assets of the wealthy should also be considered.I'm thinking the deductible should be 1% of annual income, with re-assessment possible if illness or any reason has caused income to drop by more than 10%. Perhaps a deductible of 1% of income plus 0.01% of wealth. To make the deductible fair for everyone, not just the bottom 90% of society.
  • keithmnop77 22 days ago
    The objective should be to ensure access to prescription medicines for all segments of the Canadian population. This access should be without regard to age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, occupation, or social standing. Whatever is covered by federal medicare for one segment of our population should be covered for us all. What MPs, judges, and other government employees are requiring taxpayers provide for them, they should ensure taxpayers also provide each other to the same extent.This is increasingly important in a day-and-age when it is not just the unemployed and those on reserves who do not have private health plans, but also the many people people doing multiple part-time jobs, the self-employed, single mothers, and those employed/contracted by outfits like Skip-the-dishes and Uber. Even many large companies are reducing or ceasing private employer-paid health plans.The situation for new retirees of large companies is increasingly grim too.Overwhelmingly, those of us who don't work for a government and are not in a special group are either "much less covered" or not covered at all.
  • Ega Yusuf 22 days ago
    Price, efficacy, usage and need of national pharmacare or universal drug/medical coverage, simply can be combined in medicare.
  • Janky 22 days ago
    Access for everyone needing medications that are not covered by their insurance plans.
  • Marnie 22 days ago
    People with prescriptions should be able to fill them. I currently cannot. Your poll question asked how confident I am about being able to pay for prescriptions ten (10) years from now. My response was that I am fairly confident that I will be able to pay for prescriptions ten (10) years from now. However, right now, I am usually unable to pay for prescriptions. The reason for the difference is that, ten (10) years from now, I will be over the age of sixty five (65) and I will presumably get some help from the government to pay for prescriptions and/or at least help pay for prescriptions. Right now, I am unemployed, financially challenged, under the age of sixty five (65), without medical and dental coverages, and unable to afford prescriptions usually at all. There are two (2) major things that the government should be doing to help low-income people. The first (1st) thing is actually letting people know about options such as the Alberta Adult Health Benefit (AAHB). Unfortunately, the government typically tries to keeps it programs a secret, if not directly then at least indirectly. The government certainly does not go out of its way to let people know about them! And then, if one is lucky enough to finally find out about a program such as the AAHB after needing it, the government refuses to cover anything retroactively; even though, if one had known about the program and signed up for it, items would have been covered. The second (2nd) thing that the government should be doing is not having programs that say: if your income is below x, then you will be covered one hundred percent (100%) for whatever it is that the program covers and if your income is x or above x, then you will be covered zero percent (0%) for whatever it is that the program covers. Thus, because my income is, say, one dollar ($1.00) more than someone else's, I get zero percent (0%) of whatever it is that the program covers while that someone else gets one hundred percent (100%) of whatever it is that the program covers. That is not right or fair. Government programs should use tables similar to child support tables. This would not have to cost the government (much) more money; it would simply distribute the money more fairly. For example, let's say that x is one hundred dollars ($100.00). So, if your income is below one hundred dollars ($100.00), then you will get one hundred percent (100%) of whatever it is that the program offers and if your income is one hundred dollars ($100.00) or above one hundred dollars ($100.00), then you will get zero percent (0%) of whatever it is that the program offers. Let's say that the total money to be distributed is one hundred dollars ($100.00). Let's say that this money is currently being distributed as follows: $10.00 (100%) each to ten (10) people, with the incomes of those ten (10) people being zero dollars ($0.00), ten dollars ($10.00), twenty dollars ($20.00), thirty dollars ($30.00), forty dollars($40.00), fifty dollars ($50.00), sixty dollars ($60.00), seventy dollars ($70.00), eighty dollars ($80.00), and ninety dollars ($90.00). By instead using tables similar to child support tables, the distribution of the one hundred dollars ($100.00) could be something like the following: $10.00 (100%) to the person whose income is zero dollars ($0.00); $9.50 (95%) to the person whose income is ten dollars ($10.00); $9.00 (90%) to the person whose income is twenty dollars ($20.00); $8.50 (85%) to the person whose income is thirty dollars ($3.00); $8.00 (80%) to the person whose income is forty dollars ($40.00); $7.50 (75%) to the person whose income is fifty dollars ($50.00); $7.00 ($70%) to the person whose income is sixty dollars ($60.00); $6.50 (65%) to the person whose income is seventy dollars ($70.00); $6.00 (60%) to the person whose income is eighty dollars ($80.00); $5.50 (55%) to the person whose income is ninety dollars ($90.00); $5.00 (50%) to the person whose income is one hundred dollars ($100.00); $4.50 (45%) to the person whose income is one hundred ten dollars ($110.00); $4.00 (40%) to the person whose income is one hundred twenty dollars ($120.00); $3.50 (35%) to the person whose income is one hundred thirty dollars ($130.00); $3.00 (30%) to the person whose income is one hundred forty dollars ($140.00); $2.50 ($2.50) to the person whose income is one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00); $2.00 (20%) to the person whose income is one hundred sixty dollars ($160.00); $1.50 (15%) to the person whose income is one hundred seventy dollars ($170.00); $1.00 (10%) to the person whose income is one hundred eighty dollars ($180.00); $0.50 (5%) to the person whose income is one hundred ninety dollars ($190.00); and $0.00 (0%) to those whose incomes are greater than or equal to two hundred dollars ($200.00). This example would cost the government $105.00 instead of the current $100.00. And, if you really wanted to keep it to the current $100.00, then simply make it zero percent (0%) for those whose incomes are greater than or equal to one hundred sixty dollars ($160.00) instead of greater than or equal to two hundred dollars ($200.00). Using tables similar to child support tables not only helps more people but also helps people more fairly than what the government is typically doing right now.
  • ClinicalResearch 22 days ago
    The objectives should be:1) negotiating from a point of strength for the entire country (34 million people) rather than each individual province (2-3 million individuals);2) ensuring that drug access is equitable across provinces since there is disparity right now; and3) ensuring that Canadians have access to new and innovative therapies via clinical trials (both pharmaceutical and academic-initiated trials), as Canadians are losing access to new therapies due to the lack of clinical trials (academic-initiated trials are unable to afford expensive experimental therapies and prohibitive reimbursement strategies dissuade pharmaceutical companies from introducing new products to Canada).
  • kazzie 22 days ago
    All Canadians regardless of age and state of life should be able to access prescriptions without impact on their financial circumstances or drive health decisions because they can't afford the drugs. By way of example, I am a middle income earner without a drug plan. I'm currently on a costly medication that impacts how I make financial decisions. I am now considering another intervention - surgery - so that I won't have to pay for the drug any longer. I can take the drug long term, but can't afford is, so my option is surgery, which would be covered by universal health care. Yet the drug isn't covered - but the long term costs for the drug would be cheaper than surgery. Because of cost barriers, I'm considering a health decision that will actually cost the province/territory more than that cost of drug intervention.
  • Jennie 23 days ago
    This a complex question. The objectives should be to ensure that all Canadians regardless of financial standing have pharmacare when needed. Currently a lot of employed Canadians have access to private insurance. Some contribute, some do not. Pensioners have subsidized care. When filing our taxes, we all contribute to healhcare based on income. I think a small co-pay is reasonable. From what I have heard, the cost savings on healthcare due to Canadians not being able to afford prescriptions will be greater than the cost to provide pharmacare.
  • DRED 23 days ago
    Tough question ... lots of maybes and what ifs.I am of the opinion that individuals have some responsibility for their pharmacy needs. Whether that is a co-pay model or an insurance model, I don't think that pharmacare can or should be universal ... but can be standardized across Canada. So there is need for clear definition of what a national pharmacare program is supposed to do ... free drugs for all, shared drugs with a common model, etc. It will take some convincing for me to believe there are efficiencies (as opposed to more bureaucracy), assurances of innovation and investment (as opposed to little investment due to market size), or advantages over private insurance models.The development and approval process and costs for pharmaceuticals is very expensive for the relatively small Canadian market. Some way of aligning with the US or EU approval process or accepting the approval from specific jurisdictions would help to increase access and decrease approval costs.Pharmacare needs to ensure that research, innovation and investment are nurtured. In the end, nothing is free ... anything the government funds comes from taxes in one way or another. The economic realities of increased taxation should be of real concern to Canadians.
  • Snowshore 26 days ago
    It's interesting because most people think universal coverage is what Pharmacare should strive towards but a very recent study found that current private and public programs have universal coverage for all Canadians. A lot of it is perception that there is no coverage but in reality, provinces and territories have 1st or 2nd payer insurance for those who believe they are not covered. The real issue is not the lack of coverage but the amount that is covered, which leads individuals to complain that they cannot afford it. Going towards national Pharmacare may lead to lack in efficacy and being prescribed generic drugs (e.g. generic birth control can be formulated with a significantly different amount of hormone compared to its brand name counterpart) and having to pay out of pocket for a brand product when private insurance may cover the complete cost of a branded drug. I think it's a good objective to lower costs, but with the pCPA doing negotiations, a lot of costs are reasonable in Canada due to the drug market (only 2% of global) and negotiations that are made that are lower than the listed price. Honestly, I think a national Pharmacare program needs to give options for Canadians and have a system that allows patients and providers to have a choice in the medication they take, rather than being limited to the cheapest one. It needs to also take into consideration orphan drugs (which, are expensive, but since they affect a limited population, overall is not too costly) if Canada is truly an "inclusive" country. Everything has to be done carefully because if Canadians do continue to want access to innovation in the healthcare and treatment field, the Pharmacare program needs to take that in deep consideration. Because the majority of Canadians are covered appropriately, a Pharmacare system must be sure not to tip that balance as it could potentially lead to a ripple of unexpected consequences.
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    • dr.tom 23 days ago
      The current coverages available are good, just not yet perfect. Perhaps it would be easier to improve the current programs. Take away the overall intent to cover only the cheapest alternative drugs and let the doctor decide which drug is best. Not let the pharmacare provider decide on a cost basis. So possibly a Federal subsidy for provincial pharmacare is a simpler option.
  • BetterHealthcareForAll 26 days ago
    I think the objectives should be: 1) comprehensive coverage for all (but within reason as some drugs have become far too expensive) 2) optimal drug pricing (better negotiations as a country vs province by province or payer by payer) 3) a fairer funding model (it should not be entirely tax-payer funded - perhaps a new employer tax that would take costs out of health benefits and into a more affordable national plan) 4) improved medication safety (better reporting of adverse events, better prescribing, patient access to their information with tools to manage OTCs, Herbals, etc.) 5) reduced use of prescription medications as a first line of care particularly for chronic conditions (i.e., better programs to education patients on how to avoid medication use, the side effects and risks, and supports to reduce dependence and inappropriate use). If we do this we would also greatly reduce the burden on the healthcare system and improve the health of all Canadians. Let's do this!
  • JJoachim74 27 days ago
    It should strive for universal coverage. No Canadian should have to make the decision of avoiding medication due to financial constraints. I personally believe a pharmacare program has lower costs by reducing outcomes associated with a lack of medication, and allows each Canadian to reach their maximum potential.