March 6, 2019
Following months and months of dialogue on national pharmacare, the government held a press conference today to share the Advisory Council’s interim report and its recommendations going forward. Eric Hoskins, Chair, Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare announced the following foundational elements to ensure the successful implementation of national pharmacare:
Okay, so let’s break this down to understand what this really means.
The Council noted that “prescription drug spending in Canada has grown significantly over the past few decades, increasing from $2.6 billion in 1985 to $34 billion in 2018, and anticipated to grow to more than $50 billion by 2028.” Not to mention the fact that drug spending is the second largest category of spending in healthcare.
What continually gets left behind in this message is the fact that this $34 billion includes all prescribed drugs, not just patented medicines. As well, it does not take into account the rebates applied to public drug plan that according to the Canadian Health Policy Institute* are close to 30% for brand name drugs. What is also continuously ignored are the savings innovative medicines have on the health care system overall. The savings to hospital spend are numerous – from reducing or eliminating hospital care for patients who can now be cured of certain conditions, to those who can administer specialty medicines in the comfort of their own home saves the system time and time again. When will the Feds decide to knock down those siloed budgets?
So, in essence, this “breaking news” announced this morning was nothing new, just some facts we already know and of course some still missing… with a bow tied around them.
The final report is to be released “later this spring,” which could really mean anytime between March and June. We will keep everyone posted when the final report is presented this spring.
*CHPI Facts about the cost of patented drugs in Canada 2018 Edition.