ARCHIVED - 2003 First Ministers Health Accord

Pharmaceuticals Management and Catastrophic Drug Coverage

What is Pharmaceuticals Management and Catastrophic Drug Coverage and why do we need it?

  • All provinces and territories provide some level of public drug benefit coverage to some segments of their population. The federal government provides prescription drug coverage for First Nations and Inuit, the public service, veterans, federal inmates, National Defence and the RCMP.
  • Spending on prescription drugs is growing faster than any other category of health expenditures and is the second largest share of health care spending after hospitals. The main cost driver is an increase in the use of newer, usually more costly drugs.
  • Some Canadians with serious health conditions or illnesses may face very high prescription drug costs. This can lead to a serious - or "catastrophic" - financial burden.

Why are Pharmaceuticals Management and Catastrophic Drug Coverage Important for Renewal?

  • For individual Canadians and their families, Catastrophic Drug Coverage will help to ensure that no one will be denied access to necessary, very high-cost drugs based on where they live, or their ability to pay. No Canadian should suffer undue financial hardship for needed drug therapy.
  • Canadians should have access to new and more effective drug products as they come on the market, but at a reasonable cost. This means better pharmaceuticals management to contain costs.

Benefits for Canadians

  • Better access to new, appropriate and cost-effective drugs, and the confidence that they are protected against financial hardship from catastrophic drug costs.
  • Drug costs to Canadians will be kept reasonable, as governments collaborate to promote optimal drug use, best drug use practices, and better management of drug costs

Progress to Date

  • September 2000 - Canada's First Ministers agreed to work together on approaches to ensure Canadians continue to have access to new, appropriate and cost-effective drugs.
  • September 2001- Health Ministers announced the establishment of the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System.
  • September 2002 - Health Ministers announced the establishment of the Common Drug Review (CDR). CDR reviews will begin in Spring 2003.
  • February 2003 - First Ministers Health Accord; under this Accord the Government of Canada will create a five-year $16 billion Health Reform Fund targeted to primary health care, home care and catastrophic drug coverage. First Ministers agree to make catastrophic drug coverage and pharmaceuticals management an integral component of the health care system reforms.

Links to 2003 Accord on Health Care Renewal

  • The Accord provides for federal support to ensure that measures are taken by the end of 2005/06, so that Canadians, wherever they live, will have reasonable access to catastrophic drug coverage. Governments are also committed to expanded and accelerated collaboration in pharmaceuticals management, on a variety of fronts.
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