Wednesday March 18, 2015

National drug plan could save billions, researchers say

Though Canada is a country that prides itself on its Universal Health Care plan, across the country, many Canadians have to ration their medicine, do without other necessities, or simply go without their pills.

Though Canada is a country that prides itself on its Universal Health Care plan, across the country, many Canadians have to ration their medicine, do without other necessities, or simply go without their pills. (Getty Images/Darren McCollester)

Listen 21:59

This week, there has been a renewed call for a national drug plan to cover the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians. And a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says a national plan could actually save the country billions of dollars. 

Across the country, every day, Canadians ration their medicine, go without other necessities, or simply go without their pills — which may seem ironic in a country that prides itself on its universal health care plan.

It seems every decade brings a new push for national pharmacare, and it's consistently met with concerns that universal coverage for prescription drugs would simply cost too much to administer.

But this week's report says national pharmacare could save the country $7.3 billion annually.

To discuss, we were joined by:

Sue Breen is diagnosed with a type of non-hodgkin's lymphoma. She lives in Ottawa.  

Dr. Danielle Martin is a family physician and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Toronto's Women's College Hospital. She's also a co-author of the study we're discussing.

Dr. Brian Goldman is an emergency room physician and host of CBC's medical program, White Coat, Black Art. 

Would you support a national drug plan?

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien, Naheed Mustafa and Sonya Buyting.