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Majority of Canadians Support Inclusion of Pharmacy Services in Pan-Canadian Pharmacare


July 16, 2015
by Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)

While a strong majority of Canadians support the concept of a pan-Canadian pharmacare program, they don’t necessarily want it to replace their existing private prescription drug plans according to a national survey conducted as part of the Canadian Pharmacists Association’s (CPhA) Pharmacare 2.0 Initiative.

In the national survey conducted by Abacus Data for CPhA, 79% of Canadians support the idea of a pan-Canadian pharmacare program. However, there is a caveat: most Canadians (74%) expressed concerns that a pan-Canadian pharmacare program could leave them fewer options and benefits than their current private plans. A majority of Canadians (85%) also expressed concerns about governments’ ability to efficiently and effectively administer a pan-Canadian pharmacare plan and 79% of Canadians were concerned with increased costs if such a program resulted in increased prescription drug use.

Canadians also want a pharmacare program that covers more than just medications. According to the survey, 78% of Canadians feel that pharmacare should also cover services provided by pharmacists to dispense, monitor and counsel patients on effective drug use. A strong majority of Canadians (77%) also believe that pharmacare should cover other health advice and services provided by pharmacists, such as vaccines, smoking cessation services, managing minor ailments, medication reviews and screening for medical conditions, such as diabetes.

“Canada’s 39,000 pharmacists are on the front lines when it comes to access to affordable medications and related services,” said Carlo Berardi, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “We understand the issue of pharmacare in practice, not just in theory—no one should have to make the choice between buying groceries and filling a prescription. We are focused on developing principles, policies and priorities for pan-Canadian pharmacare that leverages pharmacists’ first-hand knowledge of existing barriers to appropriate drug therapies.”

CPhA launched Pharmacare 2.0 in late June with a national survey of Canadian attitudes towards a pan-Canadian pharmacare program and consultations with pharmacy stakeholders in order to begin to build a Canadian consensus and reboot the pharmacare conversation from a preoccupation on cost containment to a focus on optimal patient-centred care at an affordable price.

“There is a clear consensus, Canadians support the idea of a pharmacare program that ensures no Canadian is without adequate coverage for necessary medications and pharmacy services,” said Perry Eisenschmid, CEO, Canadian Pharmacists Association. “Canadians recognize that access to medications is only one component of a sustainable pharmacare model and support the vital role that pharmacists and pharmacy services have in optimal drug therapy and improving health outcomes.”

About the Canadian Pharmacists Association
The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. More information is available at www.pharmacists.ca.