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CLHIA welcomes interim report of Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare

News Release

Release Date: 03/06/2019
Staff Reference: Kevin Dorse

(Toronto, March 6, 2019) - The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association welcomes the interim report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.

“Today’s interim report is an important contribution to the current discussions on how to ensure access to affordable prescription medicines for all Canadians,” CLHIA President and CEO Stephen Frank said.

“Prescription drug reform requires a collaborative effort among insurers, provincial and territorial governments and the federal government,” Frank said. “Improvements must ensure that all Canadians can access affordable prescription medicines no matter where they live and work in Canada. A balanced solution will ensure that the system is sustainable into the future and protects the health benefit plans that Canadians value.”

More than 25 million Canadians access prescription medicines through workplace health benefit plans. These plans provide thousands of pharmaceuticals – including current treatments – that are not currently provided by even the most generous public plans.

“We appreciate the work of Dr. Hoskins and the advisory council and look forward to the opportunity to engage further with them in the months ahead,” Frank added. “It is important that governments work with private insurers to meet the objectives of ensuring access to affordable prescription medicines and long term sustainability of public and private benefits plans.”

In its submission to the Advisory Council, the life and health insurance industry called for three key elements for a sensible approach to national pharmacare:

Drug coverage for everyone: Governments should establish a list of proven and cost-effective medicines that everyone should be covered for through workplace plans for those that have them, and by government for those that don’t.

Protecting and enhancing benefits: Private health benefit plans provide more coverage and choice than even the best public plan. National pharmacare should seek to improve coverage for those that need it rather than weakening existing workplace benefits.

Affordability for consumers and taxpayers: No Canadian should suffer undue financial hardship due to the cost of prescription drugs. Reform should be balanced to make effective use of taxpayer dollars. This can be achieved through planned modernization of the Patented Medicine Pricing Review Board and by allowing governments and insurers to negotiate jointly with drug companies to secure the best prices possible by leveraging the entire Canadian market, so that all Canadians pay the same low price for the same drug.

About the CLHIA

The CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to more than 29 million Canadians. It also holds over $860 billion in assets in Canada and employs more than 155,000 Canadians.

For more information:
Kevin Dorse
Assistant Vice President, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
(613) 691-6001 / kdorse@clhia