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Rusnak backs national pharmacare steps

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Local MP Don Rusnak strongly supports the measures in Budget 2019 that will build the groundwork for a national pharmacare system.

“These are a strong first step,” he said.

“Community members in Northwestern Ontario have been paying too much for too long for their medication,” Rusnak stressed.

“This budget lays the path towards a national pharmacare system that will help these people get affordable access to the medicine they need.”

Budget 2018 announced the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare that was tasked with consulting Canadians and recommending ways to the government for how to implement a national pharmacare program.

The final report by the council is expected this spring, and will recommend guidelines for solving the problem of inadequate and inconsistent pharmaceutical coverage across Canada.

Rusnak said the federal government looks forward to this report but knows action is needed in the meantime to prepare for a national program.

That's why it is acting on recommendations by the advisory council's interim report released in March that lays out three recommendations to support the implementation of a future national pharmacare plan.

These are:

  • the creation of the Canadian Drug Agency, a new national drug agency that will build on existing provincial and territorial successes and take a co-ordinated approach to assessing effectiveness and negotiating prescription drug prices on behalf of Canadians;
  • the development of a national formulary—a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs (this would provide the basis for a consistent approach to formulary listing and patient access across the country); and
  • the implementation of a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases to help Canadians get better access to the effective treatments they need.

Rusnak is proud of this action being taken, particularly the proposal to create the Canadian Drug Agency.

“This agency has the potential to reduce drug costs by billions each year by giving existing private and public drug plans the option to use this agency to negotiate pharmaceutical prices on their behalf,” he noted.

“This will make the existing coverage that families depend on more sustainable and give providers the opportunity to expand coverage,” he added.

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