A PRESCRiPTiON FOR ACCESS: THE CALL FOR ANATiONAL PHARMACARE PROGRAM
Canada is well-known for its universal healthcare system, but without a prescription drug policy, how universal can such a system be? This paper looks at Canada’s proposed federal Pharmacare policy, and using Amartya Sen’s “capabilities approach,” advocates for universal prescription coverage. Contrasting the potential outcomes of the policy with Sen’s definition of justice, this paper seeks to highlight the necessity for a federal prescription drug policy.
The 2019 report A Prescription for Canada: Achieving Pharmacare for All, published by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, delivers a strong case for the establishment of a universal prescription drug policy. Within this document, the Advisory Council highlights significant inequalities in access to prescription drugs, which cause patients in dire need of these medications to forgo either the medicine or other basic necessities. The report claims that such extreme measures are not necessary. The Advisory Council outlines a detailed plan as to how to achieve a universal pharmacare program for all Canadians, in which the cost of prescription medication would be significantly reduced. In this paper, I will support the adaptation of the pharmacare policy due to the increased access it provides to prescription medication that had been out of reach as a result of the prohibitive nature of their current costs; I will first argue that this policy meets the requirements of a capability approach to justice; second, I will argue that the pharmacare policy promotes justice as it covers the costs of prescription medications that private insurance does not; and third, I will argue that the policy will increase overall health outcomes for Canadians. To begin, I will provide a background into the issue at hand, as well as outline the purpose and objectives of the proposed pharmacare program..
Author: Samraggi Hazra