Canada is obligated as a signatory of international agreements to ensure ALL citizens have access to necessary medicines
But Canada is the ONLY country in the world with universal health care that EXCLUDES prescription drugs. As a result over 3,000,000 Canadians can't get decent drug coverage due to our patchwork of private insurance and government plans.
Is it just me or is that like letting the fox guard the henhouse?
Way back in 1966 – just one year before what Pierre Berton called “our last good year” – Canada had just come out of the gruelling process of ensuring access to doctors for all Canadians. Everyone looked around at the leftover mess, slumped into the couch, cracked a cold one – and promptly forgot to finish the health care system.
And no-one noticed.
50 years later and this little oversight has resulted in Canada having the WORST single-payer health care system in the world. Don't get me wrong, it is far preferable to the mess down south. But it could be so much better!
50 years of private insurance rubbing elbows with well-intentioned government programs has resulted in a glaringly incomplete patchwork of drug coverage.
3,000,000 Canadians have either inadequate coverage or can't get coverage at all. Signs of an imminent system collapse abound: "gofundme" pages to cover scandalous drug costs, routine denial of coverage for needed medications, job lock, bankruptcies ... sigh.
At the same time, the private drug insurance "industry" has lobbied the federal government extensively over the past decade to ensure that any reform narrative prioritizes their needs.
I can assure you, this massive lobby does not speak to – nor even consider – my needs. Nor, I suspect, the needs of the other 3,000,000 Canadians for whom this current "system" backfires spectacularly.
That's why I started Faces of Pharmacare. Despite decades of calls for something to be done, nothing has. It is discussed, studied, rises periodically in the news cycle only to be swept away in the next days news cycle.
That's got to change.