Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

Canadians Support Pharmacare Program That Includes Private Drug Plans

(en français)

Majority of Canadians Support Inclusion of Pharmacy Services in Pan-Canadian Pharmacare

July 16, 2015 (Ottawa): While a strong majority of Canadians support the concept of a pan-Canadian pharmacare program, they don’t necessarily want it to replace their existing private prescription drug plans according to a national survey conducted as part of the Canadian Pharmacists Association’s (CPhA) Pharmacare 2.0 Initiative.

In the national survey conducted by Abacus Data for CPhA, 79% of Canadians support the idea of a pan-Canadian pharmacare program. However, there is a caveat: most Canadians (74%) expressed concerns that a pan-Canadian pharmacare program could leave them fewer options and benefits than their current private plans. A majority of Canadians (85%) also expressed concerns about governments’ ability to efficiently and effectively administer a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan and 79% of Canadians were concerned with increased costs if such a program resulted in increased prescription drug use.

Canadians also want a pharmacare program that covers more than just medications. According to the survey, 78% of Canadians feel that pharmacare should also cover services provided by pharmacists to dispense, monitor and counsel patients on effective drug use. A strong majority of Canadians (77%) also believe that pharmacare should cover other health advice and services provided by pharmacists, such as vaccines, smoking cessation services, managing minor ailments, medication reviews and screening for medical conditions, such as diabetes.

“Canada’s 39,000 pharmacists are on the front lines when it comes to access to affordable medications and related services,” said Carlo Berardi, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “We understand the issue of pharmacare in practice, not just in theory—no one should have to make the choice between buying groceries and filling a prescription. We are focused on developing principles, policies and priorities for pan-Canadian pharmacare that leverages pharmacists’ first-hand knowledge of existing barriers to appropriate drug therapies.”

CPhA launched Pharmacare 2.0 in late June with a national survey of Canadian attitudes towards a pan-Canadian pharmacare program and consultations with pharmacy stakeholders in order to begin to build a Canadian consensus and reboot the pharmacare conversation from a preoccupation on cost containment to a focus on optimal patient-centred care at an affordable price.

“There is a clear consensus, Canadians support the idea of a pharmacare program that ensures no Canadian is without adequate coverage for necessary medications and pharmacy services,” said Perry Eisenschmid, CEO, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “Canadians recognize that access to medications is only one component of a sustainable pharmacare model and support the vital role that pharmacists and pharmacy services have in optimal drug therapy and improving health outcomes.”

Fundamental to CPhA’s position, and supported by public polling and consultations with the pharmacy community, is that a pan-Canadian pharmacare program must address the key issue of comparable levels of access to pharmacy services across the country to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.  As highly trusted and accessible health care providers, pharmacists have a key role to play in optimal drug therapy by improving medication adherence, early detection, chronic disease management and preventative health measures.

Renewed national discussion on pharmacare requires clear evidence for policymakers and a clear national consensus on priorities important to Canadians. CPhA, as the national voice of Canadian pharmacists, is committed to gathering this evidence and building consensus. These findings will help CPhA launch a Health Care Consensus Working Group with partners in the broader health care community during the next phase of its Pharmacare 2.0 initiative and culminate with the Working Group unveiling its model for pan-Canadian pharmacare in 2016 with the publication of the Pharmacare 2.0 White Paper.

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About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at

For more information, please contact:

Mark McCondach
Director of Communications
Canadian Pharmacists Association
(613) 523-7877 Ext. 285

For information on survey results, please contact:

David Coletto
CEO, Abacus Data