The idea of national drug coverage, or pharmacare, has been getting a lot of attention across Canada lately. More and more people are calling for a national pharmacare strategy, including doctors, nurses, economists, as well as people in contract and service jobs who don’t have drug coverage.

These calls reflect a growing problem that affects everyone in Canada: we are paying too much for prescription drugs.

In fact, our current patchwork system of private and public drug plans means that we are paying some of the highest drug prices in the world. Prescription medications cost on average 30% more in Canada than in other industrialized countries. 

As physicians, we confront the daily challenge of seeing patients who cannot afford the medications they need. We see the same patients coming back to us with the same problems in our offices and ERs, due to complications and worsening conditions that arise from not being able to take their medications. We often scramble to find samples to help our patients – a patchwork solution that doesn’t always work, and shouldn’t be necessary.

We know firsthand the difference it would make to have patients who are able to afford their medications. Frankly, we’d see a lot less of them, and that’s a good thing.

Click here to watch our video: Why doctors care about Pharmacare.

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