Universal Pharmacare – Redressing Social Inequities in the Canadian Health System: A Response to Recent Commentaries

Document Type : Correspondence


1 School of Health Administration, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

2 Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada



We are grateful for the very interesting and insightful commentaries written by Lexchin,1 Tuohy,2 Acri née Lybecker,3 Rawson,4 and Gagnonin response to our editorial, “Universal Pharmacare in Canada: A Prescription for Equity in Healthcare.”6


In his commentary, Lexchin1 rightly highlights the numerous advantages to universal pharmacare in Canada, and that the main arguments against universal pharmacare (eg, pharmacare would be too costly, private insurance coverage would suffer, or only certain gaps in insurance coverage need filling) do not outweigh the strong arguments in favour of the regime. ... (Read more...)

  1. Lexchin J. It’s time to finally kill the zombies: Comment on “Universal Pharmacare in Canada.” Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020; In Press. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2020.03
  2. Tuohy CH. Separated at birth: the politics of pharmacare for all in Canada and Medicare for all in the United States: Comment on “Universal pharmacare in Canada.” Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020; In Press. doi: 10.34172/IJHPM.2020.31
  3. Acri née Lybecker KML. The Challenges of Canadian pharmacare are more complicated than acknowledged: Comment on “Universal pharmacare in Canada.” Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020; In Press. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2020.20
  4. Rawson NSB. National pharmacare in Canada: equality or equity, accessibility or affordability: Comment on “Universal pharmacare in Canada: a prescription for equity in healthcare.” Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020; In Press. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2019.146
  5. Gagnon M-A. Understanding the battle for universal pharmacare in Canada: Comment on “Universal pharmacare in Canada.” Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020; In Press. doi:10.34172/ijhpm.2020.40
  6. Hajizadeh M, Edmonds S. Universal pharmacare in Canada: A prescription for equity in healthcare. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2020;9(3):91-95. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2019.93
  7. Caldbick S, Wu X, Lynch T, Al-Khatib N, Andkhoie M, Farag M. The financial burden of out of pocket prescription drug expenses in Canada. Int J Health Econ Manag. 2015;15(3):329-338. doi:10.1007/s10754-015-9171-3
  8. Daw JR, Morgan SG. Stitching the gaps in the Canadian public drug coverage patchwork? A review of provincial pharmacare policy changes from 2000 to 2010. Health Policy. 2012;104(1):19-26. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.08.015
  9. Advisory Council on the implementation of National Pharmacare. A Prescription for Canada: Achieving Pharmacare for All - Final Report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. Ottawa, Ontario; 2019. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/images/corporate/about-health-canada/public-engagement/external-advisory-bodies/implementation-national-pharmacare/final-report/final-report.pdf.
  10. Morgan SG, Martin D, Gagnon M-A, Mintzes B, Daw JR, Lexchin J. Pharmacare 2020: The Future of Drug Coverage in Canada. Vancouver: Pharmaceutical Policy Research Collaboration, University of British Columbia; 2015.
  11. Edmonds S, Hajizadeh M. Assessing progressivity and catastrophic effect of out-of-pocket payments for healthcare in Canada: 2010–2015. Eur J Health Econ. 2019;20(7):1001-1011. doi:10.1007/s10198-019-01074-x
  12. O’Brady S, Gagnon MA, Cassels A. Reforming private drug coverage in Canada: Inefficient drug benefit design and the barriers to change in unionized settings. Health Policy. 2015;119(2):224-231. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2014.11.013