You are the parent of a sick child. You have a limited budget and you must decide to buy the medicine the doctor prescribed for your child or provide food and shelter for your family instead. What do you do?
In spite of very high expenditures for drug coverage, one in 10 Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions. The current patchwork of public and private plans across the country means that Canadians are covered for their prescription drugs based on where they live or work, rather than on their medical needs.
Canada’s cities face a number of problems: traffic, housing, crime, infrastructure – the list goes on. Prescription drugs are one of these problems – one that is costing local governments as much as $500-million every year.
Repeatedly over the past 50 years, national commissions and inquiries have recommended that Canadian medicare include universal, public coverage of prescription drugs. So far, no government has acted on this, creating profound inequities and inefficiencies in our health care system. But more than that: the lack of universal pharmacare is bad for Canadian businesses, large and small.