Let’s have permanently quicker drug approvals

On average, drug approvals take three months longer in Canada than in the U.S. and one month longer than in Europe

Let’s have permanently quicker drug approvalsBy Maria Lily Shaw and Krystle Wittevrongel Montreal Economic Institute The past year has shown us beyond the shadow of a doubt that human ingenuity is a match for the greatest of challenges. The rapid development and mass production of several COVID-19 vaccines are proof of our remarkable capacity for innovation. Pharmaceutical innovation, one of…

The benefits from Big Pharma more obvious than ever

Why are we biting the hand that saved us?

The benefits from Big Pharma more obvious than everFor some people, no good deed deserves to be rewarded – at least not by making a profit, which they treat as if it were a dirty word. Even saving millions of lives, as pharmaceutical companies have undoubtedly done by delivering safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to market in record time, is no excuse for…

Poll exposes key problems with a national pharmacare plan

Rather than covering every Canadian for drugs they can already afford, we should focus on those who fall through the cracks

Poll exposes key problems with a national pharmacare planWith fears related to COVID-19 and the economy running high, a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute reveals near universal support for some sort of public pharmacare plan. However, it also inadvertently revealed that, despite such support, most Canadians don’t actually need it. Conducted in partnership with a list of experts who have long…

National pharmacare will be very expensive and likely unnecessary

National pharmacare will be very expensive and likely unnecessaryAccording to reports, the Trudeau government may unveil a national pharmacare program in Wednesday’s throne speech in Ottawa. The program may be based on last year’s Hoskins’ report, which recommended an expensive top-down Medicare-style approach that would artificially set drugs prices, restrict patient choice and limit private alternatives. Not only would such a program drive…

Pharmacare proposal raises some serious questions

Free prescription drugs won’t mean a thing if Canadians can’t access the drugs they need. There has to be a better way to manage our supply

Pharmacare proposal raises some serious questionsThe Liberal federal government made a pre-election promise to establish a single, universal pharmacare program that would cover all, or most, of the costs of prescription drugs for Canadians. The idea has been discussed for decades, but the public conversation has rarely gone beyond unproven hopes that it will save billions of dollars and that…

The most ridiculous campaign in our political history

Canadians have witnessed major scandals, offensive remarks, daily mud-slinging and policy proposals with big, shiny numbers that are wasteful enough to make adults cry

The most ridiculous campaign in our political historyThe federal election has just passed the halfway mark and many Canadians can’t wait until it’s over. This isn’t related to the usual malaise and frustration we see and hear during election season. Rather, it has everything to do with the fact this has been the most ridiculous political campaign in Canadian history. Where to…

Trudeau pharmacare could limit drug access, hurt patients 

Canada must cautiously approach any policy change that puts patients, innovation and innovative industries at risk

Trudeau pharmacare could limit drug access, hurt patients Justin Trudeau has promised, if re-elected, to introduce a national pharmacare program. But some cautionary notes must be sounded. The recent announcement was light on details but Trudeau cited his government’s advisory council on national pharmacare. In June, the council released its final report recommending Ottawa provide universal coverage for pharmaceuticals through a national formulary…

Canada can learn from Swiss and Dutch drug coverage

Both countries partner with the private sector and expect patients to share the cost of treatment

Canada can learn from Swiss and Dutch drug coverageBy Bacchus Barua and Kristina Acri The Fraser Institute The Liberal federal government seems poised to propose a national pharmacare plan in time for the Oct. 21 federal election. Many proponents note that Canada is the only industrialized country featuring a universal health-care system that doesn’t provide universal coverage for prescription drugs. However, those same…

Quebec’s universal prescription drug program offers valuable lessons

Public coverage in Quebec is not only more generous, but drug approval is more timely than anywhere else in the country

Quebec’s universal prescription drug program offers valuable lessonsAs the Oct. 21 election looms, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems poised to make pharmacare a central issue of the campaign. In June, the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, led by former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, tabled a report proposing a single-payer government-run universal drug plan in Canada.…

Universal pharmacare will cut costs and save lives

When it comes to prescription drug coverage, our health system has plenty in common with the United States – and that’s not a good thing

Universal pharmacare will cut costs and save lives  FROM OUR ARCHIVES Ed. note: This commentary was originally published Dec. 10, 2016. Most Canadians would agree that those who need potentially life-saving medications should have ready access to them. Yet prescription drug coverage in Canada varies widely depending on where you live, your health status, income and age. It's time for a universal pharmacare…

Steer clear of the Big Money Club when crafting national pharmacare

Prescription drug policy in Canada ought to be decided in the interest of Canadians, not based on the power of industry sector lobbies

Steer clear of the Big Money Club when crafting national pharmacare“Canadians face some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world,” admitted the federal government when announcing the interim report from its Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. If Canadians hoped this report would provide details on how a national pharmacare program might be implemented and funded, they only got a taste.…

National pharmacare can hurt patients more than it helps

Will likely result in reduced access to new drugs, and delay research and development

National pharmacare can hurt patients more than it helpsThe federal government’s pharmacare advisory council released a report last week outlining the “foundational” elements of a national plan. And Tuesday’s federal budget may include more details. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding core aspects of the pharmacare debate. Given that proponents in Canada often cite government-funded pharmacare programs in the United…

Before implementing national pharmacare, look at what provinces already offer

Instead of using scarce health-care dollars broadly, we should identify and support those Canadians falling through the cracks

Before implementing national pharmacare, look at what provinces already offerModern medicines can improve health outcomes and quality of life for those stricken with illness. As a result, policy-makers and ordinary Canadians are understandably concerned about patient access, affordability and insurance coverage for prescrip­tion drugs. However, recent calls for a national pharmacare program would have many believe that Canadians without private drug insurance – about…

The fundamental fallacy of universal drug coverage

A program to provide prescription drugs to all Canadians is wasteful and wrongheaded. We should simply be targeting those who need help

The fundamental fallacy of universal drug coverageAs a parliamentary committee in Ottawa drafts its report on the possibility of a national drug plan, a new study estimates that roughly one out of every 12 Canadians who required a prescription in 2016 had difficulty paying for it. The authors also estimate that one million Canadians reduced spending on food and heat due…

Access to medications shouldn’t depend on your job

We could give politicians the same medication coverage plans as food servers and see if that speeds up their deliberations about publicly-funding medications

Access to medications shouldn’t depend on your jobMembers of Parliament mulling options for publicly-funding medications will likely take their sweet time. There’s no rush for them because they already have the type of access to medications contemplated for other Canadians. While approximately three million Canadians don’t take medications as directed because of the cost, MPs and other lawmakers enjoy platinum medication plans…