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Doctors celebrate long awaited step forward toward pharmacare

Toronto - Ontario’s decision to provide pharmacare to everyone under 25, as part of the Provincial budget, won praise from Canadian doctors.

“Each year, one in five Canadian families fails to take prescribed medication due to the associated costs, and almost one in four have failed to take prescribed medicine because of cost in the last five years,” said Dr. Monika Dutt, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Today’s announcement is a badly needed step toward supporting those millions of patients.”

Recent studies show pharmacare would reduce the cost to businesses and families for drug insurance, while improving health outcomes. Pharmacare can also reduce the costs to the health care system of unnecessary hospitalizations.

“Universal pharmacare is the most effective tool for ensuring lower costs and better health, this initial step addresses one part of that equation,” said Dr. Dutt.  “This step, although significant, leaves out many Ontarians who will continue to need medications or go on to develop chronic conditions. We hope Ontario's initiative encourages clear action by the Federal government to expand coverage.”

Canada is the only country in the world that has a universal health care plan that doesn't include pharmacare. Canadians pay more for pharmaceuticals than almost any country in the world, with average drug prices 30% above the OECD average. Progress toward pharmacare has been sought at the national level for the last two years. There is currently an Independent Parliamentary study being conducted on the costs of implementing a federal universal pharmacare program, which is expected to be released this fall. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) will then produce a report outlining their recommendations regarding national pharmacare.

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Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. CDM advocates for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.

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