Canadians paying billions more for drugs without Pharmacare

UBC professor Steve Morgan has been writing a series of excellent BLOGs on Healthy Debate this month about the need for Pharmacare in Canada.

As Morgan stated last November, our Medicare system stops the minute a doctor writes a prescription.

While organized labour has been reasonably successful in getting pharmaceutical coverage for their members, one in ten Canadians do not fill prescriptions due to cost. This is much higher than many of the countries and health care systems we frequently compare ourselves (with the exception of the United States). The impact is often felt as symptoms get worse without medication and the patient makes greater use of the public health system as a result.

Morgan is among the  organizers of a national symposium at the end of February in Vancouver on the subject, arguing that Canada pays a significant premium for drugs by not moving to a universal model.

“We are probably the only country in the world that offers a universal healthcare system of financing that excludes prescription drugs,” he said in November.

If we moved to the Pharmacare system Germany has, for example, Canadians would collectively save $4 billion in drug costs. If we moved to the UK model, the savings would be on the order of $10 billion. If the government is serious about sustainability of health care, this should be a wake up call.

To watch Morgan’s 10-minute speech from last November, click on the window below. Also included is one of the excellent short videos posted in the run up to Morgan’s Vancouver symposium later this winter. The link to Healthy Debate is also on our blogroll to the right.


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