Panel recommends Canada fund all prescription drugs

TRENTON, Ont. : A special panel looking at prescription medication on Tuesday recommended Canada institute a publicly funded drug plan because 20 percent of Canadians have little or no coverage for doctor-prescribed pharmaceuticals.

That was among the commendations the Citizens Reference Panel on Pharmacare in Canada, consisting of 35 people drawn from all regions of the country, made to the federal committee on health.

Chairman Peter McLeod said in a statement that the panel was unaware that so many Canadians lacked prescription drug coverage, the Canadian Press wire service reported.

The panelists were surprised to learn that many Canadians do not have adequate drug coverage and that Canadians on average spend considerably more for medically necessary drugs than most other countries with comparable health-care systems, he said. Canada has a universal health-care system.

They [panelists] believe the government should act and create a national pharmacare system that is equitable and cost effective, McLeod said.

He said Canadians consulted during the preparation of the Necessary Medicines report were in favor of such a plan.

In public opinion research that's been conducted, Canadians routinely support some form of pharmacare, McLeoad said, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada's national broadcaster. We haven't really had a defined model that Canadians are saying they would endorse. That's part of what this report provides.

Other recommendations include full coverage for drugs prescribed for rare diseases, the immediate establishment of public coverage for frequently prescribed drugs such as those for high blood pressure and diabetes, and an examination of funded treatments to be sure they are good value for the money.

The panel said the program could be funded through modest income and corporate tax increases. It also suggested co-payments for those who could afford it.

Canada is the only developed country with a universal health care plan that does not have universal prescription drug benefits, the CBC reported.

Source: Anadolu Agency