Nursing leaders and experts call for a National Pharmacare Program

Publish date: Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Health care

MNU President

Sandi Mowat

MNU president Sandi Mowat, along with CFNU nursing leaders from across Canada, participated in a health care round table discussion at the Council of the Federation, an annual meeting of provincial and territorial Premiers.

During the discussion, held in Prince Edward Island, nursing leaders and experts expressed the need for a national pharmacare program in Canada.

Dr. Marc-Andre Gagnon, an Assistant Professor at the Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration, presented his report, A Roadmap to a Rational Pharmacare Policy in Canada, which demonstrated that the current hybrid prescription drug system is not working. According to Gagnon’s report, the current system is unfair, inequitable, and wastes vast amounts of money.

He pointed out major inefficiencies with the current system including the fact that the current prescription drug coverage offered to Canadians is based on where they work or live, when it should be based on the individual’s medical needs.  In fact, Canadians pay among the highest per capita costs for prescription drugs, when compared to other OECD countries, and one in 10 are unable to fill their prescriptions.

Gagnon believes that if Canada offered first-dollar coverage, a universal pharmacare program would generate savings of 10 to 41 per cent on prescription drugs, which represents savings of up to $11.4 billion per year, while simultaneously improving health outcomes.

He said that while a universal pharmacare program may not solve all the challenges we face, it will help to improve access, diminish costs, improve practices and ensure the continued sustainability of our health care system. 

Polls show that the majority of Canadians agree with Gagnon, with 78 per cent in favour of the establishment of a universal pharmacare program.

MNU President Sandi Mowat and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger


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