Universal Pharma Care In Canada

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Most Canadians have come to think very highly of their universal health-care system since it was established nationwide almost 50 years ago. But for all its benefits, it doesn’t cover every health-related cost: medications outside hospital, for example, are exempt. Why? The commonly cited reason is that they would be too costly to include. But a study involving U of T researchers suggests a nationwide “pharma care” program could save Canadians billions of dollars, without costing governments much more, if anything.

“In many of the scenarios that we modelled, universal pharma care was cost-saving or cost-neutral for governments. This goes against current thinking that a universal program will cost a lot more,” says Dr. Danielle Martin, one of the authors of the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Canada is the only developed country
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The researchers created three scenarios for a universal public drug plan: best- and worst-case, and a “base” scenario, which is the expected outcome.

They found that most prescriptions are already paid for by government, through tax revenues, with $9.7 billion spent directly on public drug plans and $2.4 billion spent on private drug plans for public-sector employees. Private-sector spending on private insurance plans currently accounts for $5.7 billion, and uninsured patients pay $4.5 billion out-of-pocket for prescriptions they fill.
If Canada could negotiate lower prices for drugs (comparable to the prices researchers found in several peer countries) and raise the rate of generic drug use to that seen in some provincial drug plans, a universal public drug plan would reduce total spending on prescription drugs in Canada by $7.3 billion per year, or 32 per cent, according to the

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