National Pharmacare in Canada: Equality or Equity, Accessibility or Affordability; Comment on “Universal Pharmacare in Canada: A Prescription for Equity in Healthcare”

Document Type : Commentary


1 Eastlake Research Group, Oakville, ON, Canada

2 Canadian Health Policy Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada

3 Fraser Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada


Canada’s federal government intends to take steps to implement national pharmacare so that all Canadians have prescription drug coverage they need at an affordable price. Relatively limited funds have so far been pledged to support national pharmacare, which raises the question: what kind of program is envisioned? Since the government has already introduced regulations intended to reduce new drug prices drastically, national pharmacare seems likely to be a basic system designed to assist low-income Canadians with accessing primary care medicines. What Canadians actually need is a system that provides access to the medicine considered appropriate by the patient and their healthcare provider for the patient’s specific condition. Equitable national pharmacare will not be achieved if patients are denied access to new high-cost specialized medicines that can improve or extend their lives, any more than if patients who cannot afford basic drugs are not helped.


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Volume 9, Issue 12
December 2020
Pages 524-527
  • Receive Date: 06 December 2019
  • Revise Date: 20 December 2019
  • Accept Date: 20 December 2019
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2020