BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Winter 2018
Pharmacare for everyone
It’s time for decisive action
From page 7
THIS SPRING, the federal government’s Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare will deliver its report.
Everything hangs in the balance.
• Dr. Eric Hoskins, who chairs the council, is on record as saying that Canadians spend too much on prescription drugs. He compared the current situation to “paying $60 for a cup of coffee at Tim Horton’s.”
• On the other hand, federal finance minister Bill Morneau – who has ties to the stunningly inefficient private for-profit health bene-fits industry – has stated that a national pharmacare program should just “fill the gaps.”
If Hoskins’ council decides to recommend the second option, we will be no closer to securing the enormous health, social and financial benefits that would flow to all Canadians through a comprehensive national prescription drug program.
A diverse coalition of 80 organizations representing health care providers, workers, seniors, patients and academics – including BC FORUM – says pharmacare must be a seamless extension of the existing universal health care system in Canada.
The coalition says pharmacare should be governed by five principles:
• Universal coverage for all residents of Canada on equal terms and conditions.
• A single-payer, publicly administered and delivered program that is integrated with Medicare, directly accountable to the public it serves, and leverages single-payer procurement to maximize purchasing power for the entire Canadian population.
• Access to covered medications without financial barriers or other impediments.
• Comprehensive coverage for as many medications as judged safe and effective by scientific evidence and based on the best value for money.• Portable, continuous and consistent coverage for residents who move within Canada.
In addition to these five principles, the coalition says the federal government must offer the leadership that’s needed to finally achieve national pharmacare.
This must include substantial funding commitments, sufficient to induce provincial and territorial governments to opt-in to the national program, says the coalition.