HomeNews & TopicsHealth Care PolicyFederal government risks ignoring existing provincial drug insurance plans in push for...

Federal government risks ignoring existing provincial drug insurance plans in push for national program

Published on

New study from the Fraser Institute

Despite widespread misperceptions, every province already provides prescription drug coverage to help Canadians—particularly seniors and lower-income Canadians—pay for pharmaceuticals, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Much of the discussion about a possible national pharmacare plan seemingly assumes there’s no existing government help for Canadians to pay for medicines they need—but that’s just not true,” says Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Provincial Drug Coverage for Vulnerable Canadians.

The study summarizes provincial drug programs across the country and finds that, while levels of coverage vary by province, three key vulnerable groups, namely lower-income Canadians, seniors, and Canadians on social assistance have access to prescription drugs, paid in full or in part by provincial governments.

Provincial governments across Canada also provide drug coverage to select populations who may face considerable hardships as a result of either their medical care costs or other factors including the severely disabled and those diagnosed with conditions like multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis.

Crucially, provinces are able to establish prescription drug plans to suit their particular priorities, population age, income levels and other factors, which differ from province to province. This customization would likely be lost or at least diluted if Canada adopts a national program.

Health-care costs for typical Canadian family hit nearly $13,000 this year

“Provinces can tailor drug plans to suit their individual needs, but a single-payer national pharmacare system would put an end to that,” says Yanick Labrie, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute who specializes in health and pharmaceutical economics.

“Instead of a drug program modelled on our inflexible health-care system, we should instead seek to understand what gaps exist in our provincial plans and target resources to Canadians who need assistance.”

Latest articles

Surgical guidance with AI

Researchers at UHN’s Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI) have utilized artificial intelligence (AI)...

Protecting patients and the planet from unnecessary tests

Climate change is a universal problem that impacts both environmental and human health. In...

A New Era in Heart Failure Management: The Promise of Digital Therapeutics

Heart failure is one of the fastest growing cardiovascular conditions in the world that...

Finding innovative solutions to reduce substance use costs on health care

Substance use is quietly adding significant stress to the currently strained health-care system in...

More like this

Wait times in EDs are nothing new – and that’s the problem

The respiratory virus season is upon us, and those working in the emergency departments...

Ontario hospitals play critical role in Canadian health care advancements and innovation

Twenty Ontario research hospitals have been celebrated for their excellence in health research and...

Too much paperwork is hurting physicians, and health care

Few of us look forward to administrative tasks. For physicians, however, relentless paperwork is...

Primary care lessons for Canada from OECD countries

To improve primary care, Canada can learn from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development...

Are Canadians suffering a crisis of trust?

Trust in Research Undertaken in Science and Technology Scholarly Network (TRuST) launched to combat...

Patients experiencing homelessness: better data for better care

A patient’s housing status impacts not only their health outcomes, but where and how...