CPhA believes that targeted federal investments can increase drug coverage and access for Canadians. By complementing the established mix of public and private programs, we can provide comprehensive drug coverage to those with insufficient or no coverage, ensuring universal coverage for all Canadians.
have comprehensive prescription drug coverage.
who have drug coverage still can’t afford to pay their portion of the cost for their prescriptions.
don’t have any form of drug coverage.
What is pharmacare?
Proposals for a publicly funded pharmaceutical plan (or "pharmacare" as it is often known) have been debated at key junctures since the introduction of Medicare. In response to the rapid growth of medication use outside hospital, federal, provincial and territorial governments have put in place programs and policies to improve drug access and affordability for Canadians.
Renewed discussions on plans for a “national” or “pan-Canadian” pharmacare program have shown that the concept of “pharmacare” means different things to different people. Discussions typically center on access and equity of coverage, the drug prices paid by Canadians, a common formulary, and appropriate drug therapy.
The role of pharmacists
As the medication experts who help patients navigate their drug plans, pharmacists across Canada see first-hand the critical role that access and optimal use of prescription medications plan in ensuring the health and wellness of Canadians. Pharmacists and pharmacies can provide real-world advice on the practicability of various pharmacare solutions and ensure that the implementation of any new program meets the needs of Canadians.
Given Canada’s constitutional make-up and the provincial and territorial management of health care, we believe that a pan-Canadian mixed payer approach to drug coverage is more feasible, will face fewer barriers to implementation and can be achieved more quickly than through a complete overhaul of drug plans across the country. This approach can provide comprehensive coverage to those who need it, andminimize disruption for those with existing plans.
Key priorities for a pan-Canadian PharmAccord
- Providing predictable and permanent funding to provinces and territories to expand their formularies and address their gaps in coverage
- Increasing catastrophic coverage for individuals who are using high-cost drugs or who are experiencing high out of pocket costs as a result being on multiple medications, ensuring that no one pays more than 3% of their household income in out-of-pocket drug costs
- Supporting provincial and territorial efforts to harmonize formularies to reduce discrepancies across the country
- Supporting provinces and territories in enabling pharmacists to conduct medication reviews, deprescribing and other key services that promote the optimal use of prescription drugs.
Reports and Research
As the national voice of Canada’s pharmacists, CPhA is committed to gathering evidence and building consensus when it comes to potential policy options and solutions to address prescription drug coverage in Canada.
- Pharmacare in Canada – Pan-Canadian PharmAccord (2023)
- Better Pharmacare for Patients: Evaluating Policy Options (2018)
- Rx: PharmAccord – A Prescription for a Healthier Canada (2017)
- Closing the Coverage Gap - Pan-Canadian Pharmacare (2016)
- Report Provides Comprehensive Examination of Major Pharmacare Models (2016)
- Preliminary Report Released Examines Pharmacare Models (2016)
- Principles & Priorities Discussion Paper (2015)
- Canadians Support Pharmacare Program That Includes Private Drug Plans (2015)
- Pharmacare 2.0 - What Canadians Are Saying (2015)
- National Pharmacare in Canada - National Survey (2015)