Why National Pharmacare?


Canada’s drug insurance system is fragmented and expensive. High out-of-pocket costs – including co-pays and deductibles – can be a major financial burden, particularly for older Canadians, many of whom are on fixed incomes.

To make matters worse, coverage across government-administered plans in Canada is inconsistent, leading to disparities in access. Why should someone in one province have better or worse access to medicines than someone in another province?

The federal government is currently exploring options for a national pharmacare program to help address these long-standing gaps.

CARP believe that one option under consideration is the creation of a single public plan that would replace existing public and private plans. Like a burlap sack, this would cover all Canadians, but reduce quality of coverage for many Canadians since public plans tend to cover fewer medicines and take much longer to make them available.

This would be unacceptable. A recent survey of CARP members showed that older Canadians want medicine access to go up, not down. This means faster access to more medicines.

For this reason, CARP is asking decision-makers to AIM HIGHER by adopting a national pharmacare approach that:

  • Closes current coverage gaps: let’s help ALL Canadians access a high quality drug plan
  • Provides better and faster access to new medicines: let’s move UP THE RANKINGS for developed countries on speed and comprehensive access to treatments
  • Reduces or eliminates out-of-pocket costs for Canadians: let’s TACKLE THE AFFORDABILITY CHALLENGE for many seniors at the pharmacy counter

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