2019 budget takes promising step towards national pharmacare

March 19, 2019

Canadian Doctors for Medicare supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to implement national pharmacare, and recognizes the funding included in the 2019 federal budget and creation of the Canada Drug Agency as important steps towards fulfilling that commitment.

As part of its 2018 budget, the Liberal Party of Canada announced the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. The mandate of the Council, as stated in the interim report it presented in March of 2019, is to “provide independent advice to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance on how to best implement national pharmacare in a manner that is affordable for Canadians and their families, employers and governments.”

“Canadians have told this government that they want fair and affordable drug coverage,” said CDM Chair Dr. Danyaal Raza. “The current system is too expensive and leaves too many people in Canada behind. We have a long way to go and many questions left to answer regarding a plan to get to real coverage for all people in Canada. Nonetheless, the commitment to an evidence-based formulary and collective drug price negotiations announced in today’s budget represent an important step forward on the part of the government.”

The Council’s interim report recommends the creation of a national drug agency; the development of a comprehensive, evidence-based national formulary; and an investment in drug data and information technology systems.

The interim report does not provide additional specifics regarding the implementation of national pharmacare, or specify how it would be funded. The Advisory Council has pledged to include these details in its final report, which is scheduled to be presented in June of 2019.

“Canadians deserve better than a ‘fill the gaps’ approach to fixing a broken system,” Raza said. “Universal public drug coverage drastically reduces public spending on prescription drugs, while ensuring that all Canadians have access to the medication they need. We are encouraged by today’s budget announcement, and we look forward to the Advisory Council’s final report.”

Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. CDM advocates for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.

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For more information or to book an interview:

Matt Blair

Communications and Outreach Officer

Canadian Doctors for Medicare

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