Is Canada Ready for National Pharmacare?

Subscribe on iTunes

“There is no comparable healthcare system in the world that does not ensure universal coverage of [at least] essential medicines.” – Dr. Steve Morgan on the need for Pharmacare in Canada

What would a Canadian National Pharmacare Program look like?

We break it down for you this week on a special episode of The Rounds Table with an evidence informed conversation about the future of prescription drug coverage in Canada. Kieran moderates the discussion between Dr. Dan Raza, family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, and Dr. Steve Morgan, Professor in Population and Public Health at UBC, Leader of Canada’s Pharmaceutical Policy Research Collaboration, and Founder of Pharmacare 2020.

The discussion begins with an overview of the current state of medication coverage in Canada, highlighting the demographic which presently pays for medications out of pocket. Next, the economics of Pharmacare are discussed – did you know that a National Pharmacare Program has the potential to cut healthcare costs? Barriers to implementing national drug coverage are then discussed from both business and political perspectives.

The conversation wraps up with a discussion of what the implementation of Pharmacare in Canada might entail, and the probability of it happening in the foreseeable future.

Like what you hear? Rate us on iTunes! Let us know what you think of a National Pharmacare Program on Twitter @roundstable and tweet at Kieran directly @kieranlquinn.


1. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2015/03/16/cmaj.141564

Music Credits

The Rounds Table Theme Music by Brendan Quinn, Creative Director and Composer, Vapor RMW

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 Comment
  • Cynthia says:

    Thank you for the informative podcast! I am a clinical pharmacist with a special interest to understand how medications are reimbursed across the country – why BC would be quick to cover many expensive cancer drugs when our Maritime provinces don’t have much resources for drug coverage. I personally support a National Pharmacare but is skeptical whether we can successfully implement it given so many challenges that you have already discussed. I understand other countries have successfully operate a national pharmacare program and this has resulted in substantial cost savings. But I also wonder if having a national pharmacare in Canada would discourage the ability to add innovative new drugs to the formulary in a timely manner or be a trigger to create or worsen a national drug shortage of medications which we have seen already at some level especially for old and cheap drugs.

Republish this article

Republish this article on your website under the creative commons licence.

Learn more