• Study shows how national pharmacare plan could work

    The authors are scathingly critical of those… who would use pharmacare to merely “fill in the gaps” left by existing private and public plans. Such an approach, they write, is merely a euphemism for off-loading the drug costs of expensive, high-risk patients onto the public system while leaving private insurers free to focus on those who are relatively healthy and thus more profitable… to be at all useful, a national pharmacare system must be universal…

  • Take profit motive out of drug research

    “for pharmaceutical companies, there is little profit incentive to invest in drugs that quickly cure patients; medicine for chronic conditions presents a more tempting return on investment… ”Since the rise of neoliberalism, governments have increasingly stepped away from research in favour of letting profit-oriented private companies take the lead. The result has been a huge increase in lifestyle drugs, while life-saving drugs are often just a byproduct… Our governments need to reclaim their lead role in research and development so that they follow society’s needs instead of profits.

  • Debunking the myths about a Canadian pharmacare program

    The federal government’s Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare is consulting with Canadians this summer on a program that would see prescription drugs covered through expanded publicly funded systems… Myth 1 – Pharmacare will reduce choice of drugs to the detriment of patients… Myth 2 – Canadian drug prices are not excessive; we already get a reasonable deal on pharmaceuticals… Myth 3 – Pharmacare will result in less pharmaceutical industry investment (particularly in research and development) in Canada.

  • National pharmacare ‘blueprint’ will be unveiled next spring

    … the provinces do want to know “who is going to pay for the transformation, and how is the pie going to be divided after that?” … “It’s very important to provinces and territories that the federal commitment is there, it’s substantial, and that provinces and territories have confidence in that cost-sharing and that federal contribution, and that federal contribution will be there today and also into the future.”

  • Pharmacare and Politics

    Provincial drug plans today pay less than half of the total cost of prescription drugs; the rest is paid by private insurance plans or out of patients’ pockets. A set of single-payer “first-dollar” drug plans would likely more than double provincial and territorial government spending on drugs. Unless there are accompanying large increases in federal transfers, those governments are unlikely to agree to this approach. Increased federal transfers, however, would ultimately require higher federal taxes, making federal politicians less enthusiastic about this option.

  • After legalizing pot, is decriminalizing other drugs the logical next step?

    … Public-health officials have long recognized a reality that elected politicians are only belatedly appreciating: Drug use and dependency are best addressed with the tools of health policy, not those of criminal justice… decriminalization… upholds worthwhile social norms – that making, smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs is wrong – while acknowledging that those in the grip of dependency are ill.

  • National pharmacare will require tax hike, former budget watchdog warns

    … there’s a solid argument to be made for national pharmacare, because it would help Canadians save significantly on their out-of-pocket drug expenses and create more consistency in terms of health costs across the country. The 2017 parliamentary budget office study estimated such a plan would save Canadians more than $4-billion every year on prescriptions. But… the federal balance sheet would become unsustainable if it assumed the full cost of such a program.

  • There’s a big legal battle between the provinces and the tobacco industry, but it’s being fought at a snail’s pace

    It has a clear strategy: Delay, delay and delay… Barring further delays, the first cost-recovery lawsuit is slated to go to trial in New Brunswick on Nov. 4, 2019. That’s almost two decades after legal proceedings began, and a reminder of how our courts operate at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, in the U.S., these issues have largely been litigated and resolved.

  • The Ford government’s superficial arguments against pharmacare

    … a surface-level argument for efficiency in the immediate use of tax dollars hides rather important ideological differences between universal and pay-as-you-go services, and obscures some of the large benefits (including extensive efficiency gains) of all-in pharmacare…. It’s true that a national pharmacare plan… will mean more public spending. But it’s also true that overall spending will drop substantially, by as much as $4 billion a year according to the 2017 report from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

  • Rare diseases, expensive drugs – Health Canada showdown coming

    When Canada’s health ministers sit down together on Thursday and Friday in Winnipeg, talks are expected to revolve around Ottawa’s development of a national pharmacare plan. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix wants that plan to include a mechanism to grapple with expensive drugs for rare diseases – a fast-growing cost pressure on the public purse.