Patient groups release Pharmacare Principles in advance of Health Ministers' Meeting

Best Medicines Coalition urging Ministers to ensure new policies expand access to prescription medicines

VANCOUVER, Jan. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - The Best Medicines Coalition (BMC), a national alliance of patient groups, today released its Equitable Pharmaceutical Care: Principles and Considerations Regarding Pharmacare in advance of the January 20–21 Federal/Provincial/Territorial Health Ministers Meeting in Vancouver. The six key principles are universality, national scope, broad inclusivity, therapeutic options, timely access, and collaboration.

The Principles reflect the shared vision of BMC's 23 member organizations which represent a large cross-section of the Canadian patient community, including arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer and others. The Principles have been provided to all Health Ministers to support the BMC's call for making pharmaceutical reform a priority and to ensure that patient voices are heard.

"All Canadians need assurances that significant pharmaceutical policy reforms will involve full consultation with all relevant stakeholders and careful consideration of options and implications," said Gail Attara, BMC's Chair, and CEO of the Gastrointestinal Society. "We feel strongly that patients, including the organizations that represent them, must play an integral role during review, debate, development, and integration of new pharmacare strategies and programs, and these Principles are a step toward that."

Collaboration between Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers to date has been focused on reducing the budget impact of medications through pricing. The BMC welcomes any actions that bring value and savings to patients and the government, but argues that the current system of patchwork programs often results in compromised patient care at greater cost to individuals and the health care system.

"Quite simply, no Canadian should be left without the means to obtain medicines that a qualified health care professional has deemed necessary. I am certain that the Ministers share this core belief and that we can all work collaboratively to improve this vital aspect of health care," said Attara. "We are encouraging the Health Ministers to begin significant health reform and drug program collaboration. For patients, this is about broadening eligibility and delivering a high standard of care."

At the upcoming Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers of Health Meeting, the BMC is urging the Ministers to ensure any joint strategies expand access to prescription medications, reflecting the principle that Canadians deserve access to a full array of approved medications.

The meeting will be co-chaired by the Honourable Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Health, and the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health for British Columbia. Ministers will discuss a number of pressing issues including policies and initiatives regarding prescription medicines for Canadians.  

About the Best Medicines Coalition

The Best Medicines Coalition is a national alliance of Canadian patient organizations with a shared vision of equitable and consistent access to safe and effective drugs which improve patient outcomes. Areas of interest span from drug approval and reimbursement through patient safety and supply concerns. As an important aspect of its work, the Best Medicines Coalition strives to ensure that Canadian patients have a voice and are meaningful participants in health policy development, specifically regarding pharmaceutical care. Formed in 2002 as a grassroots alliance of patient advocates, the BMC is a not for profit organization.

SOURCE Best Medicines Coalition

For further information: Contacts: Melissa Lemberg, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Phone: +1 604-692-4227, Mobile: +1 604-518-6004, Email:; Paulette Eddy, Executive Director, Best Medicines Coalition, Phone: +1 416-917-3338, Email:

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