National drug care plan funding announcement creates more questions


Elianna Lev
Elianna Lev March 20, 2019

Canada remains the only country with universal healthcare but no national drug plan. (Getty)

[Excerpt] The federal government is setting the foundation for a national prescription drug plan by pledging $35 million towards the inaugural agency.

The plan, which was unveiled as part of Tuesday’s budget announcement, would determine what essential drugs should be accessible to all Canadians. The Liberals also committed $1 billion to help with the often-exorbitant price of medicine for rare illnesses.

While the feds have set the wheels in motion for a national pharmacare plan, many of the crucial details remain unknown. It’s unclear if the program will be funded through a single-payer plan, similar to how most Canadians pay for doctors and hospitals, or go by a “fill-in-the-gaps” approach, as they do in Quebec, where both public and private insurance is used. 

Danyaal Raza, chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, calls the announcement “an important building block”. 

“It allows us to make evidence-based decisions on the prescription medications that we want to include in a pharmacare plan,” he told Yahoo Canada. “It also brings together some of the different public payers — the provinces — to do joint negotiations to pay better prices than what we pay right now for prescription drugs.”


Canada remains the only country with universal healthcare but no national drug plan.
While the feds have set the wheels in motion for a national pharmacare plan, many of the crucial details remain unknown. It’s unclear if the program will be funded through a single-payer plan, similar to how most Canadians pay for doctors and hospitals, or go by a “fill-in-the-gaps” approach, as they do in Quebec, where both public and private insurance is used.
Danyaal Raza, chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, calls the announcement “an important building block”.

To read more, click on: National drug care plan funding announcement creates more questions