TORONTO, June 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's provincial pharmacare systems
have flaws not found in other developed countries that could be
addressed by integrating prescription drug coverage into the broader
healthcare system, according to a report released today by the C.D.
Howe Institute. In "Rethinking Pharmacare in Canada," authors Steven
Morgan, Jamie Daw and Michael Law find that integrating pharmaceuticals
into the healthcare system by covering medically necessary prescription
drugs at little cost to patients would result in improved performance
on key pharmacare policy goals.
All developed countries with broad public healthcare systems provide
universal coverage for prescription drugs - except Canada, note the
authors. Instead, Canadian provinces allocate limited public subsidies
for prescriptions drugs, leaving the majority of costs to be financed
out-of-pocket and through private insurance. They review three of the
main approaches to provincial pharmacare policy - exemplified by
British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec - and compare them with policies
in other countries.
"All provincial systems in Canada involve considerable patient charges
and multiple payers that are not responsible for financing patients'
medical and hospital care," said Steven Morgan. "The costs borne by
patients are known to reduce the use of medicines that might otherwise
improve patient health and reduce costs elsewhere in the healthcare
system." In addition, " the involvement of multiple payers diminishes
purchasing power, adds administrative costs, and creates funding silos
that limit the potential for healthcare managers and providers to
consider the full benefits and opportunity costs of prescription drugs
as an input into the broader healthcare system," said Morgan.
Countries that integrate pharmaceuticals into the healthcare system
achieve better access to medicines, and greater financial protection
for the ill, at significantly lower total cost than any Canadian
province achieves, the authors find. They recommend that provinces
expand public pharmacare programs to all segments of the population
with a specific focus on promoting access to medicines of proven
value-for-money in our healthcare system. "Though the immediate effect
of this would be an increase in government spending, this would, over
time, be more than offset by savings to patients, employers and
individuals who purchase stand-alone private drug coverage," concludes
For the report go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/rethinking-pharmacare-in-canada/22009
SOURCE: C.D. Howe Institute
For further information:
Steven Morgan, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Centre for Health Service and Policy Research; or Colin Busby, Senior Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute. 416-865-1904; email: firstname.lastname@example.org