Access to prescription medicines and therapies affects all Canadians due to the barriers of cost and availability in the healthcare system. Too often, we find patients choosing whether to pay for their prescription medicines or basic necessities such as food. In some cases, patients die or their quality of life significantly deteriorates waiting for their drugs to be approved by multiple drug approval agencies.
“Canada is the only country in the world with a publicly funded healthcare system that does not include access to prescription medicines,” said the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network in their brief to the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
The brief, entitled “A Pharmacare Vision Based on the Healthcare Needs of a Patient” includes what the CCSN considers as list of the key components and recommendations for a national Pharmacare program. These recommendations are organized by the following principles: Accessibility, Timeliness, Safe and Effective, Equitable Financing, Investment, Accountability, Collaboration, and Consistency.
“National Pharmacare has been pursued by Canadian governments since the 1960s but it is long overdue,” writes Jaymee Maaghop, Director of Public Policy at CCSN and author of the submission.
She said, “It is time 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.”