Public plans covered only 26% of the 491 new drugs approved by Health Canada from 2009 to 2018; national pharmacare is an empty promise for 23.2 million Canadians now covered by private plans

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TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two new studies confirm the abysmal state of access to innovative medicines in Canada’s publicly funded drug plans. The research, published in the journal found that public plans cover far fewer new drugs compared to private plans in Canada. Public plans also take much longer to cover new drugs compared to private plans. The findings are important because the federal government has proposed replacing Canada's private-public prescription drug insurance system with a single-payer national pharmacare program modeled on existing public formularies.

In one study researchers compared the coverage of new medicines across the 11 Federal and Provincial public drug formularies:

Data were not available to compare the thousands of private sector plans in Canada. But, in a separate study researchers were able to compare coverage of new drugs at the sector-level, based on the first listing recorded by any private or public plan in Canada.

The results of these studies forewarn that national pharmacare will reduce access to new medicines for Canadians currently covered under private plans. Of the 36.3 million people who lived in Canada in 2016, 23.2 million people were covered under a private drug plan. The remaining 13.1 million people had public drug benefits or were otherwise eligible for safety-net coverage under public drug plans.

CHPI will provide complimentary digital copies of the referenced studies upon media request.

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ABOUT CHPILaunched in 2012, Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI) is a private-sector research enterprise and the publisher of (CHP) journal, which features the work of CHPI affiliated researchers and external independent authors. The institute is funded by sales of articles and subscriptions to readers. We set articles free (or at reduced prices) if the research and publishing costs are recovered through sponsorship. Our published research is subject to formal review and critique by CHP editorial staff, CHPI affiliated researchers and independent external experts in health economics and health policy.

 

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Globe Newswire: 14:00 GMT Wednesday 11th September 2019

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