We Need Federal Leadership on Pharmaceutical Drug Coverage

More than 300 health academics and health professional sign letter to Prime Minister Trudeau on the need for federal leadership on pharmaceutical drug coverage

(Toronto and Vancouver) — Every developed country with a universal healthcare system provides universal coverage of prescription drugs…except Canada. The problems associated with Canada’s incomplete patchwork of private and public drug plans – including widespread barriers to accessing prescribed medicines, significant financial burdens on patients with chronic disease, and much higher drug costs than comparable countries – have received considerable attention in recent years.

The best solution to these problems for Canada is a universal, comprehensive, public drug plan that is appropriately integrated into our universal system of hospital and medical insurance. This form of universal “pharmacare” – working in conjunction with our “medicare” system – has been repeatedly recommended by commissions on Canada’s healthcare system dating all the way back to the 1960s. Despite this, Canada has not yet established such a policy.

The change in government at the federal level, combined with supportive governments in many provinces, create a window of opportunity for this long awaited reform to occur. As such, physicians involved with Canadian doctors for Medicare and researchers involved with Pharmacare 2020 collaborated in drafting a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau asking him to put this reform at the top of the agenda for federal, provincial and territorial negotiations on improving the quality of Canada’s healthcare system.

The health professionals and policy experts who drafted the letter thought perhaps a few of their peers would want to join their efforts. They were wrong.

Over the course of just seven days, their letter to the Prime Minister had been circulated to health professionals and policy experts across Canada. By the time they sent the letter today, over 300 health professionals and policy experts had joined as signatories.

The list of signatories includes:

  • Signatories from every province
  • More than 150 physicians, pharmacists, and nurses
  • 10 recipients of the Order of Canada
  • 11 Canada Research Chairs
  • Over 225 signatories are professors from 34 universities across Canada

Full open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau can be read here.