A prescription for savings

Federal revenue options for pharmacare and their distributional impacts on households, businesses and governments
December 5, 2018
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Pharmacare is high on Canada’s political agenda with the federal government’s Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare led by Dr. Eric Hoskins set to report by spring 2019. Pharmacare is also expected to be a key issue in the 2019 federal election. 

It is well-established that a universal (single-payer) national pharmacare program could achieve huge economy-wide savings while significantly increasing access to prescription drugs, in particular for those who do not currently have a private or workplace drug plan. However, implementing such a program would also involve a significant shift in spending from the private sector to government. 

A range of policy options have been proposed to finance a universal (single-payer) national pharmacare program should the federal government decide that additional fiscal capacity is required. This paper assesses these various options to determine which are the most fair and equitable, and how we can best share and distribute the considerable savings that would be generated by the introduction of a national pharmacare program. 

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