As Canadians, we are proud of our national healthcare system, but we know it can be improved. No Canadian should have to choose between putting food on the table and buying the prescription drugs they or their family need. That is why as part of Budget 2019 our government is moving forward on three foundational elements of national pharmacare.
To make prescription drugs more affordable and more accessible to more Canadians, the government will work to create a new Canadian Drug Agency, a national formulary, and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.
A New Canadian Drug Agency
To make prescription drugs more affordable for Canadians this new agency will:
- Assess the effectiveness of new prescription drugs
- Negotiate better drug prices on behalf of Canada’s drug plans, saving Canadians as much as $3 billion a year over the long term
- Recommend which drugs offer the best value for money for Canadians, helping to identify which drugs are best suited to form the basis of a national formulary
A New National Formulary of Prescribed Drugs
A formulary is a list of medicines that can serve as the basis of a pharmacare program. Budget 2019 invests $35 million to ensure that such a formulary will:
- Be developed in close partnership with provinces, territories, and other stakeholders
- Be comprehensive and evidence based
- Provide the basis of a consistent approach across the country, so that patients in Vancouver South can access the same medicines as patients in Halifax West
A National Strategy for Making High-Cost Drugs for Rare Diseases More Accessible
As we move forward together on pharmacare it is important to make sure that no one is left behind. For many Canadians who require high-cost prescription drugs to treat rare diseases, the cost of these necessary medications can be astronomically high. To help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need, Budget 2019 proposes to invest $1 billion over two years for the creation of a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases that will:
- Gather and evaluate evidence on high-cost drugs for rare diseases
- Improve the consistency of decision making across the country
- Ensure effective treatments reach the patients who need them
These measures are an important first step in expanding drug coverage and moving forward on implementing national pharmacare. They are based on ongoing consultations and the interim report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
The Advisory Council’s final report is expected this spring.