You Are Here: Home > What We Do > Advocacy

National Pharmacare

Joint Replacement Wait Times

As stakeholders in health care we all have a responsibility to work towards improving health outcomes for patients. Unfortunately, too many Canadians do not have affordable access to the treatments they need, and that has a serious impact on their health – and on Canada as a whole.

To address this issue, the Arthritis Society continues to call for the development of a national pharmacare program to elevate the standard of coverage so that all Canadians have equitable access to a broad range of medically necessary treatments at an affordable price, wherever they live in Canada.  

We believe a national pharmacare program should:  

  • Address existing inequities: Too many Canadians are uninsured or underinsured, forcing them to make difficult choices about medication versus other expenses. Others may be covered or not depending on their province of residence, a kind of “postal code lottery” where your health outcomes can vary dramatically based on where you live.
    A national pharmacare program should first address these inequities – not by pursuing a lower standard of coverage in a “race to the bottom”, but rather by increasing affordable coverage for those who need it most, and by removing obstacles to accessing that coverage.
  • Ensure access to a range of therapies: A national pharmacare program should provide timely access to a range of treatments – what works for one patient may not work for another – and ensure that patients are not hindered by an overly restrictive formulary or a system that is slow to recognize the value of new therapies like biologics. As many of these new treatments become increasingly more precise and better able to target patients who will most likely benefit from them, it will not only lead to improved health outcomes, but also health system savings in the long run.
  • Consider expanding out-of-hospital care: Improving the affordability of medicines is an important objective, but if we want to truly make a lasting impact on our health system, we need to start thinking about the national pharmacare debate as a broader and more ambitious opportunity to modernize the basket of publicly funded services and improve out-of-hospital care more generally. This includes improving access to home and community-based care and focused efforts on prevention to avoid the onset of many chronic conditions.

The recommendations found in the Final Report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, led by Dr. Eric Hoskins, address some but not all of these considerations. That makes it vital that any effort to move forward on national pharmacare must be informed and advised by strong patient participation focused on addressing urgent patient needs.

Ask your representative:

What will you do to help ensure that patients have a voice at the table as Canada moves towards the creation of a national pharmacare program?

handshake iconDo you have a story to tell about how limitations in drug coverage have impacted your health, or that of a loved one? Sign up to share your story, or to stay informed about our advocacy efforts.

Get Involved