Rethinking Pharmacare in Canada

June, 2013

Steven G. Morgan, Jamie R. Daw and Michael R. Law

All developed countries with universal healthcare systems provide universal coverage for prescription drugs – except Canada. Instead, Canadian provinces allocate limited public subsidies for prescriptions drugs, leaving the majority of costs to be financed out-of-pocket and through private insurance. We review three of the main approaches to provincial pharmacare policy – exemplified by British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec – and compare them with policies in other countries. We find that Canadian models for prescription drug financing have major shortcomings.

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