3 Things to Know When Considering National Pharamacare

Recently, Rethink was part of a broad consultation of patient advocates hosted by Health Canada to discuss the implementation of a national pharmacare program. By definition, pharmacare is a system that provides people with access to necessary prescription drugs.

Report after report has confirmed – Canadians need pharmacare.  In fact, Canada is the only industrialized country with a universal health system that doesn’t include prescription medications.  But what it could, or rather should look like is no easy question to answer.

At Rethink, our mission is to support young people affected by and concerned about breast cancer – and here are the three areas we’re focused on:

Cancer Treatment is Essential

Many discussions about pharmacare centre around the WHO’s essential medicines list, but for some reason cancer treatments are not considered essential. We don’t get it either! For that reason, we need to make sure the voices of breast cancer patients are part of the conversation so cancer treatment is included in a national drug program. (You can add your voice to Health Canada’s online forum and questionnaire.)

Gaps in Take-Home Cancer Treatments Coverage

Currently there are great disparities in how treatments for cancer that are taken at home are covered across the country. A national pharmacare program could close these gaps and help ensure that all patients have access to the treatments they are prescribed regardless of where they are taken.

Care for the Gig Economy

Canadians’ prescription drug coverage is currently provided through a patchwork of more than 100 public and 100,000 private health insurance programs. But with more people self-employed or working as contractors (it’s already estimated at around 30 percent and rising for young people!), we can’t expect employee benefit plans to be the safety net they once were. We need a pharmacare program that reflects what young people need now and in the future.

This is an important discussion that affects all Canadians. There is a lot at stake.  So as the discussion goes on, Rethink will continue to put the needs of young people who are affected or concerned about breast cancer forward – stay tuned for more soon by staying up to date with what Rethink is doing next.

~ MJ

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