Letter to the editor: Overdue For Pharmacare

As published in the Globe and Mail, March 8, 2018.

Re National Pharmacare Is Possible – But It Won’t Come Easy (March 6): Every developed country with a universal health-care plan already has a national drug plan – except Canada.

Take the United Kingdom, which introduced a national drug plan in the 1940s that provides necessary medication to the whole population. Children, students, everyone over 60, those on low incomes and those with many serious illnesses receive their drugs free of charge. So does everyone in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For others, the maximum charge is the equivalent of $188 per year.

Does this cost the U.K. a fortune? No. It is paying just more than half what Canada pays for drugs. Why? Because a national plan gives it the power to negotiate lower prices with the big pharma companies. Also, the U.K. doesn’t pay insurance companies to needlessly administer many different private plans for most of the population.

Canada is way overdue for a national drug plan: Various economic studies have shown it would save billions of dollars.

Julie White, board member, Canadian Health Coalition

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