Canada is the only country in the world with universal health care that doesn’t cover prescription medication. Currently, one in four households in Canada can’t afford their medication. One million Canadians are having to choose between putting food on the table and buying their medication. Our public health care system should be expanded to include prescription medication so that everyone can access the medication they need.
- Although the majority of Canadians have drug coverage through their employers, they often face expensive co-pays and deductibles. Some plans also have monthly or yearly maximum claim amounts.
- People with work-based drug plans risk losing their coverage if they change or lose their job or they retire.
- Many Canadians have no drug coverage at all, which means they have to cover 100% of the costs of their medication.
- Approximately 20% of Canadians have inadequate drug coverage.
- Certain groups such as low-income workers, young workers and women are less likely to have adequate drug coverage.
- Over 1.5 million Canadians don’t fill their prescriptions or skip doses of their medication due to costs.
- When people skip their medication, they end up getting sicker. This results in more than 300 000 extra doctors visits per year and up to 670 premature deaths.
Economic Benefits of Pharmacare:
- Canada currently pays some of the highest prices in the world for prescription medication. With universal pharmacare, we could drastically reduce these prices by bulk buying medications.
- Universal pharmacare would save Canada up to $11 billion per year.
- Employers would benefit by not having to pay for private drug plans for their employees.
- Individuals and families would benefit by not having to pay out of pocket for medication.
Universal pharmacare is the missing piece of Canada’s public health care system. Expanding our health care system to include access to prescription medication would be good for people’s health and good for business.