CCSN Brief to the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare

A Pharmacare Vision Based on the Healthcare Needs of Patients

Access to prescription medicines and/or therapies affects all Canadians.
There are two main issues that Pharmacare must address: the uninsured (coverage gap issue) and the underinsured (formulary-based issue).
Pillars for an accessible, fair and equitable program for Pharmacare and healthcare are already envisioned in federal legislation. Of particular importance, the Canada Health Act states that the federal government of Canada must ensure:
  • That the future improvements in health will require the cooperative partnership of governments, health professionals, voluntary organizations and individual Canadians
  • That continued access to quality healthcare without financial or other barriers will be critical to maintaining and improving the health and well-being of Canadians
We urge that the federal government of Canada, along with the provincial and territorial governments, commit to their constitutional responsibilities for healthcare and include a Pharmacare program that properly addresses the needs of Canadians.
This submission provides a list of key components and recommendations for a national Pharmacare program.
We propose that the key components of a Pharmacare program must include:
  • That 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.
  • That every person is to have equal opportunity to access therapies regardless of barriers related to the social determinants of health.
  • The plan for Pharmacare must be pursued with a mixed model approach: a national formulary that addresses essential medicines of those uninsured (for children to 64 years old) and a nationwide enhancement and consistency of coverage and eligibility for the underinsured, especially patients with cancer, chronic diseases and rare diseases.
  • That a fair Pharmacare program will consist of a coverage plan that goes beyond a formulary that meets the lowest common denominator.
  • Patients should be recognized and included in every level of decision-making processes as they are key stakeholders in healthcare. In addition, Pharmacare must be guided by principles that are patient-focused.
The recommendations are organized by the following principles:
  • Accessibility
  • Timely
  • Safe and Effective
  • Equitable Financing
  • Invest
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability of Governments
  • Consistency

Read the brief here (PDF).