The high cost of not having national pharmacare
Conservatives are often concerned about the cost of a national pharmacare system. What they overlook is how expensive it is not to have one. In the first place, Canadians spend at least 50% more on pharmaceuticals than people living in countries, like Britain, with a single-payer pharmacare system. The British use just as much medicine as Canadians do, but the collective purchasing power of a single-payer system yields much lower drug prices. But there are even more serious costs incurred by our current system. “In 2016, higher drug costs made Canadians three times more likely to skip prescriptions than residents of comparable countries (such as Australia and New Zealand) … Thousands of Canadians end up in hospitals every year as a result of their inability to afford the medicines they need… worse yet, hundreds of Canadians die each year because they cannot afford prescriptions to manage otherwise manageable diseases such as diabetes…”
As the current pandemic has made increasingly obvious, our current system of private pharmaceutical coverage increases suffering, increases deaths, and increases costs to the public health-care system. It’s time for a national pharmacare system, as the NDP has long advocated.
You can get further information on national pharmacare in an article by Nav Persaud and Steve Morgan in the Globe and Mail, COVID-19 has intensified our need for national pharmacare (May 26, 2020, page A11).