A patient vision, values and principles of a national pharmacare program


All people residing in Canada have timely, consistent, equal and equitable access to safe and effective therapies, including treatments and medications, as well as the information, diagnostics, care and support that they need, without conditions.

This is part of a broader vision for every person to have equal opportunity to access therapies regardless of barriers related to the social determinants of health.¹


Respect for people who access the health system including their support team.

Meaningful and ethical engagement of people who access the health system, including engagement in health systems planning, decision making, implementation, knowledge transfer and exchange, monitoring and evaluation, and systems redesign.

Accountability as the framework for all health systems processes and health policy.

Transparency in sharing information about all health systems processes and health policy decisions.

Timely access to health innovations.

Excellence in health systems and health policy that recognizes the importance of integrating best practices in evidence based qualitative and quantitative medicine.

Capacity building and mentorship for all who engage with the health care system.

Social Justice as a principle to uphold equal opportunity to access and benefit from all social determinants of health.


The plan for Pharmacare in Canada must:

  • Protect or improve existing individual access to therapies at or above their current level.
  • Ensure universality and equality that recognizes diversity in all its forms and accommodation for disability.
  • Safeguard access to medically necessary therapies for uninsured and underinsured residents of Canada regardless of ability to pay or place of residency.
  • Recognize the discrete needs of people with life threatening and serious debilitating illnesses that significantly impact quality of life.
  • Accept, assess and value real world evidence in determining therapeutic value.
  • Reinvest pharmaceutical system savings back into the Pharmacare budget in order to provide increased access to therapies.
  • Build on the foundation of health care mechanisms and systems already in place.
  • Develop value-based drug pricing contracts, including systems for sharing data and other relevant information.
  • Analyze the value of a drug or treatment for a Pharmacare system to include savings in other parts of the health care budget and broader socio-economic impact.
  • Expand health technology assessment processes to measure the value of all components of the health care budget.

Supported by:

Canadian Cancer Survivor Network
CNETS Canada
The Canadian CML Network
The CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia) Society of Canada
GIST Sarcoma Life Raft Group Canada
Life-Saving Therapies Network
Lung Cancer Canada
Lymphoma Canada
Schizophrenia Society of Ontario
Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada

¹Public Health Agency of Canada; http://cbpp-pcpe.phac-aspc.gc.ca/public-health-topics/social-determinants-of-health/


A Patient Vision for Pharmacare in Canada – Report from the Oncology Roundtable Meeting

Estimated Cost of Universal Public Coverage of Prescription Drugs in Canada

Further information regarding the implementation of a national pharmacare program

Open Letter from the Canadian Doctors for Medicare

Pharmacare – Lost in Translation

Pharmacare 2020 – The Future of Drug Coverage in Canada

Pharmacare Principles and Priorities Discussion Paper

Pharmacare2.0: What Canadians Are Saying