The demand for a universal health care plan that covers the cost of prescription drugs has been gaining support since the 1960s, and there seems to be no stopping its ongoing momentum.
In 2015, a study was released to outline the benefits of including drug coverage under Canada's universal public health care system. Entitled Pharmacare 2020 - The Future of Drug Coverage in Canada, the study demonstrated that the plan would not only give all Canadians access to the drugs they need, but it would also save the country billions of dollars each year.
The study was conducted and released by six health policy experts, who all agree that implementation of the proposed plan by 2020 would be best. According to them, it is "a reasonable timeline for reform - short enough to ensure that action is taken soon, but long enough to ensure that implementation is done right."
Canadians have shown overwhelming support for the idea as well. A poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute showed that 90% of Canadians were in favour of it, and earlier this week, a new petition was started to bring even more awareness to the cause.
The petition mentions that 30 billion dollars was spent for only 600 million prescriptions, and 22% of Canadians still pay for drugs completely out of pocket. While universal drug coverage would definitely be a huge investment, the rewards would definitely be worth it.
Pharmacare outlines its plan as follows:
1. Provide universal coverage of selected medicines at little or no direct cost to patients through Pharmacare.
2. Select and finance medically necessary prescription drugs at a population level without needs-based charges—such as deductibles, coinsurance, or risk-rated premiums—on individuals or other plan sponsors (e.g., businesses).
3. Establish a publicly accountable body to manage Pharmacare, one that integrates the best available data and evidence into decisions concerning drug coverage, drug prescribing, and patient follow-up.
4. Establish Pharmacare as a single-payer system with a publicly accountable management agency to secure the best health outcomes for Canadians from a transparent drug budget. This is Pharmacare for Canada. It would work in conjunction with Canadian Medicare to promote the health and well-being of Canadians.
5. Fully implement Pharmacare—a public drug plan that is universal, comprehensive, evidence-based, and sustainable—by 2020.
You can read the full study for Pharmacare 2020 here.