Today marks an important step in the health of all Canadians. The Advisory Council to Implement National Pharmacare released their report recommending a universal single-payer national pharmacare plan to cover every Canadian.
Wellesley Institute’s Senior Fellow Camille Orridge was appointed to the Advisory Council and over the past year has spoken to health care experts, patients and other stakeholders across the country to better understand their views on pharmacare.
We hosted the first public meeting to ensure representation from diverse voices. In a packed room at the Wellesley Institute office, stakeholders articulated the gaps in drug coverage to advisory council members.
The universal single-payer model to pharmacare is one that Wellesley Institute has championed from the start. Together with Toronto Public Health, we found that this approach works best to ensure Canadians have access to essential medications. One in four Ontarians report reducing or skipping their medication use due to their cost. This can lead to poorer health and increased use of other health services.
Not only will universal pharmacare reduce drug costs for the entire country, it will directly impact the health of the most vulnerable in Canada.
We are currently looking at how many Ontarian workers are left without drug coverage as a result of our current patchwork approach. This new study from researchers Rebecca Cheff, Malaika Hill and James Iveniuk highlights that part-time workers, millennials, recent immigrants, and racialized workers are all more likely to be left without medication coverage.
Everyone in this country should have equitable access to prescription drugs, regardless of income, age, employment, province or territory. A national pharmacare program will reduce health inequities and improve the health of the whole population through ensuring universal and equitable access to prescription medications.