Albertans need a pharmacare program that ensures everyone has access to affordable and safe prescription drugs. There are currently too many financial barriers preventing seniors and chronically ill Albertans from obtaining medications that keep them healthy and out of the hospital. Albertans understand that universality is a key principle of health care and that prescription drugs are a vital component of health care. Giving people the medications they need saves money by preventing health problems or speeding recovery from health problems.
Canada is the only developed country with a universal health care system that does NOT provide universal coverage of medically necessary prescriptions. It can be safely said that Canada’s universal public health care system effectively ends as soon as a patient is handed a prescription to fill.
Ensuring universal access to medically necessary prescription drugs is not only the ethical thing to do, it is also fiscally responsible. Canadians need a national pharmacare program, a national publicly funded and administered insurance plan that would cover drug costs the same way Medicare covers hospital and doctor costs, providing universal access to safe and appropriate care. It would provide equal access to prescription drugs for all Canadians, replacing our uneven and unfair patchwork of provincial programs and private insurance at work. It would also control costs by allowing providers to negotiate good prices and reduce administrative costs. And it would save lives by providing life-saving medically necessary drugs to those who currently cannot afford them, while at the same time saving Canadians between $4 billion and $11 billion per year.
Friends of Medicare supports the establishment of a national Pharmacare program with universal coverage for all Canadians.