Healthy Canada Conference 2017: Access to Affordable Medicines

Costs of medicines are a concern for government, employers, and all Canadians

Medicines, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, offer not only extension of life, but often improved quality of life and functionality, allowing many Canadians the ability to become and remain active members of the work force and society. Without access to affordable, appropriate, and high-quality medicines, there can be significant impacts on individual and population health and productivity. Yet despite having one of the top health care systems in the world, access to affordable medicine continues to be a significant issue for many Canadians, particularly among our more vulnerable populations.

Improving access to affordable medicines involves affordable and fair pricing

If Canada strives to provide equitable access to essential, high-quality medicines then pricing must be affordable and fair in addition to effective and sustainable approaches to financing. Health care spending continues to consume a significant proportion of provincial and territorial budgets, ranging from 18 per cent in the Yukon Territories to 46 per cent in Nova Scotia. In the private sector, employers struggle with balancing the cost of health care benefit plans, growth, and maintaining a sustainable business. This inconsistent insurance coverage and high out-of-pocket spending may influence some people to forego essential medications owing to cost.

Out-of-pocket spending on medicines contributes to inequitable access

Further, it has been reported that spending more than 5 per cent of household income out-of-pocket on drugs and pharmaceutical products is associated with prescription non-adherence. The high cost of new medicines and the increased demand for medicines in general, are challenging public health care systems, private payers, and all Canadians who have to pay for them out of pocket, either fully or partially.

And price is only one piece of the puzzle as there are policies and practices that may pose challenges to Canadians’ ability to access the medicines they need in the most efficient way. Access to medicines is constrained by access to the health care system as a whole. Prescribing practices have a profound impact on appropriateness of use and access to medications.

So what can be done? And where do we start?

Join us to discuss the impact that affordable medicine could have on Canada

This event will bring together experts and stakeholders from across the country to address these issues and many others, with the goal of creating a shared vision for affordable access now, and in the future. Don`t miss this chance to explore the top issues, network with your peers, and have your say on how we can improve access to affordable medicines for all Canadians.

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Healthy Canada Conference 2017: Access to Affordable Medicines