Pharmacare 2020 - Envisioning Canada's Future

Access

Reforming pharmacare in Canada isn't just about lowering costs... Learn more

Equity

Reforming pharmacare in Canada isn't just about lowering costs... Learn more

Quality

Reforming pharmacare in Canada isn't just about lowering costs... Learn more

Sustainability

Reforming pharmacare in Canada isn't just about lowering costs... Learn more

Every developed country with a universal health care system provides universal coverage of prescription drugs... except Canada!

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Drug coverage in canada depends on your age, where you work, and what province you live in. Millions of canadians lack basic coverage for essential medicines.


1IN10

Canadians cannot afford the medicines their doctors prescribe.


Canadians without insurance are 4x more likely to skip prescriptions because of costs.

4x


This means Canada has one of the worst rates of access to medicines among comparable countries.


"If we don't take action, I think things are actually going to worsen. [...] We have to get a healthy pharmaceutical policy in place."
- Anna Reid, President, Canadian Medical Association

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Access Toonie

The size of a patient co-payment shown to reduce patients' use of preventative drug treatments.


Giving patients drugs of proven value-for-money for free will actually save the health care system money by helping to keep patients healthy.

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Canada's incomplete pharmacare system, and heavy use of deductibles and co-insurance for those who are covered, results in financial burdens that patients would face in no other comparable country.


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Million Canadians Access Money Stack

incur over $1,000 per year in household expenses for prescription drugs... because of chronic illness, most do so year-after-year.


70%
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of Canadians who require high-cost prescription drugs require such treatments year after year, often until death.


Canadian patients are far more likely to face $1,000 or more in out-of-pocket prescription charges than patients in comparable countries.


"To be financially strapped for the medication that is going to help you is absolutely heartbreaking." - Nicky, Patient

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In the 1980's, "expensive" drugs cost hundreds of dollars per patient per year. In the 1990's, they cost thousands of dollars per patient per year. Today, expensive drugs cost hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per patient per year.


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Financial hardship due to high prescription drug expenses is increasingly a real risk - indeed, it is a reality - for many individuals and families in Canada.

- The standing Senate committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology report on The Health of Canadians (Kirby Report)

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Protecting patients against the cost of necessary medicines offers benefits to everyone. Even healthy people cannot be certain that they won't develop a serious illness and require medicine.


Prescription drugs are an integral part of quality health care... When prescribed and used appropriately!


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Prescribers and patients need timely access to unbiased information about drug safety, effectiveness, and costs.


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2 out of every 3 patient visits to Canadian doctors end with prescriptions.


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1 in 4 Canadians over 65 takes prescriptions that may pose a serious risk to their health.


98.6% =

percentage of time sales representatives in Canada fail to provide doctors with minimally adequate safety information about the drugs they promote.


"What we want to do is to channel the use of [medicines] in the direction where they're more likely to lead to benefit and less likely to lead to harms." - Barbara Mintzes, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

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Preventable underuse and overuse of medicine causes nearly 1 in 5 hospitalizations in Canada.


Improving prescribing practices in Canada would not only improve patient health, but would also lower the overall costs of pharmaceuticals and other health care services.

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Our multi-payer system increases administrative costs, diminishes incentives for prudent expenditure management, and reduces our global purchasing power.


Drug spending per capita is higher and growing faster in Canada than in comparable countries.


$5.1

Billion

estimated amount of waste due to use of over-priced products by privately insured Canadians.


"The reforms that are [currently] being implemented have nothing to do with evidence-based policy; we are simply importing US-style policy." - Marc-André Gagnon, Assistant Professor, Carleton University

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Countries with universal drug coverage spend 15-60% less per capita on prescription drugs than Canada.


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A publicly administered pharmacare plan would bring economies of scale, information-based formularies, and the ability to set prescribing guidelines; it has the potential to run in a very cost-effective fashion.

- Victor Clive, former VP of Canada Trust and Founder of the Employer Committee on Health Care in Ontario (ECHO), 1998

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$14

Billion

The amount that Canada could save every year if we spent the same amount on pharmaceuticals as people in the United Kingdom.

Click here to see what Canada could do with an extra $14-billion per year in our health care system!

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Better managing the pharmaceutical component of health care will save Canadian patients, employers, and taxpayers money now and help sustain the health care system into the future.


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Take The Quiz
  1. 1. Implementing universal pharmacare in Canada would not only lower the cost of drugs, but would also:

    • A. Improve access to medications for all Canadians
    • B. Reduce unfair financial burdens on some of Canada’s most vulnerable patients
    • C. Encourage better prescription practices and quality drug treatments
    • D. Reduce health system costs, making Canadian healthcare more sustainable
    • E. All of the above
  2. 2. What amount of co-payment has been shown to reduce patients’ use of preventative drug treatments?

    • A. $2.00
    • B. $6.00
    • C. $18.00
    • D. $54.00
  3. 3. How often do sales representatives in Canada fail to provide doctors with minimally adequate safety information about the drugs they promote?

    • A. 23.5% of the time
    • B. 55.3% of the time
    • C. 79.2% of the time
    • D. 98.6% of the time
  4. 4. How much money could Canada save every year if we spent the same amount on pharmaceuticals as people in the United Kingdom?

    • A. $700 million
    • B. $1.4 billion
    • C. $7 billion
    • D. $14 billion
  5. 5. When did Canada’s leaders first propose to adopt a system of universal pharmacare?

    • A. 1964
    • B. 1971
    • C. 1998
    • D. 2004