Despite misperceptions, provinces already provide prescription drug coverage for the vulnerable, says study

By The IJ Staff | October 16 2018 01:30PM

A new study released Oct. 16 by the Fraser Institute says despite widespread misperceptions, every province already provides prescription drug coverage to help Canadians particularly seniors and lower-income Canadians pay for pharmaceuticals.

National pharmacare plan

“Much of the discussion about a possible national pharmacare plan seemingly assumes there’s no existing government help for Canadians to pay for medicines they need – but that’s just not true,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Provincial Drug Coverage for Vulnerable Canadians.  

The study, that looked at provincial drug programs across Canada, found that while levels of coverage vary by province, vulnerable groups have access to prescription drugs, paid in full or in part by provincial governments.

Provincial governments also provide drug coverage to those who face considerable hardships as a result of either their medical care costs or other factors. The report also underlines that provinces are presently able to set up prescription drug plans to suit their particular priorities, population age, income levels and other factors, which differ from province to province.

Tailored drug plans

“Provinces can tailor drug plans to suit their individual needs, but a single-payer national pharmacare system would put an end to that,” said Yanick Labrie, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute who specializes in health and pharmaceutical economics.

“Instead of a drug program modelled on our inflexible health-care system, we should instead seek to understand what gaps exist in our provincial plans and target resources to Canadians who need assistance.”

To learn more, consult the full report.

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