Give Canada Universal Drug Coverage!
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In 1966, Parliament approved a publicly-funded health care system under the principle that access to health care shouldn’t depend on location, income, or wealth. Today, Canada’s health care system provides excellent care while balancing resource expenditure, and we can all access quality care without excessive personal cost. Every Canadian, regardless of financial situation, can access the treatment they need.
Except the makers of Medicare missed a few important things. If you’ve ever been sick and needed to take prescription medication, you’ll know that they can be expensive and they’re not always covered. Last year, we spent 30 billion dollars to fill over 600 million prescriptions. As for coverage, Canada has a confusing patchwork of public and private drug plans that vary depending on where you live or work. And despite those plans, Canadians still pay 22% of drug costs out-of-pocket.
What are we spending all that money on? Well, it’s often spent on drugs that have a cheaper alternative. In the last five years, we’ve wasted 15 billion dollars on overpriced prescription drugs, and over 80% of new prescription drugs entering the market today don’t even offer any medicinal advantage compared to drugs already covered by drug plans.
The combination of high prices and low coverage means that one in ten Canadians don’t fill their prescriptions because they can’t afford it.
Health is influenced by a number of factors called the social determinants of health. These factors are often out of our control and include education, housing, race, location, access to healthy food, job security, and many more. This, along with no national Pharmacare coverage, is causing inequities in our health care system.
What can we do about it? The answer is pretty simple: cover prescription drugs just like we cover doctor and hospital visits. There’s more than enough precedent: Canada is the only country in the developed world with a national universal healthcare system with no national pharmacare system.
Pharmacare will enable the government to negotiate bulk purchasing from drug companies on behalf of all 35 million Canadians. Not only would everyone be covered, but drugs would actually cost less. It’s a big investment, but an even bigger reward.
That’s why we’re calling on the federal government to include pharmacare in our medicare system.
Sign our petition to help encourage our government to take the first steps to ending this inequity.
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