CRA Insights

National Pharmacare in Canada: a one-size-fits all solution?

August 5, 2019

Canada’s healthcare system is viewed as a “universal” one, founded on the basis of equal access rather than the ability to pay, though the reality is somewhat different. The public system does not cover the cost of outpatient drugs, and healthcare delivery is regionalized, which often leads to inequities in access.

The Canadian federal government has announced its intention to establish National Pharmacare by 2023: a national drug agency, national formulary, and rare disease strategy. National Pharmacare proposes to harmonize drug coverage across Canada, while increasing the government’s negotiating power. However, questions persist around whether this plan would benefit the majority of Canadians, or if it would exclude some that were previously covered by insurance plans. This Insights addresses these questions, along with some of the potential opportunities surrounding National Pharmacare and the impact the plan could have on pharmaceutical companies.

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