June 12, 2019
Canadian Doctors for Medicare fully supports the Final Report presented today by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, and commends the Council’s recommendation that the Government of Canada work with provincial and territorial governments to establish a universal, publicly-funded, single-payer system of prescription drug coverage in Canada.
“We are very much encouraged by the Council’s findings and recommendations,” said CDM Chair Dr. Danyaal Raza. “They have recognized that a ‘fill the gaps’ approach to pharmacare is unrealistic and would do little to increase equitable access to prescription drugs for all people in Canada, or to lower the high prices that we pay for them. The model of coverage and care recommended in this report represents a bold step towards truly fair and affordable pharmacare in Canada. Importantly, it is based on best available evidence and reflects the founding principles of medicare—a further way that Canadians can express their care for one another."
The creation of the Advisory Council was announced as part of the Government of Canada’s 2018 budget. The mandate of the Council, as stated in the interim report it presented in March of 2019, was 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.”
The Advisory Council’s report recommends that the five fundamental principles of medicare, as embodied in the Canada Health Act, be applied to national pharmacare. In other words, the Council recommends a pharmacare system that is publicly funded and administered; provides universal access to all residents of Canada; provides a broad range of safe, effective and evidence-based treatments; is portable across provinces and territories; and in which access to prescription drugs is based on need, not ability to pay.
“The Council has shown that it has considered the evidence and listened to Canadians,” Raza said. “The recommendations in this report set the high standard for national pharmacare that people in Canada deserve and can achieve. We are very encouraged by the report, and we call on all federal parties to commit to the implementation of a universal, single-payer pharmacare system as part of their 2019 election platforms.”
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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