June 12, 2019 / 3:22 PM / 5 days ago

Canada drug coverage advisory group recommends govt create universal pharmacare system

OTTAWA/TORONTO, June 12 (Reuters) - A Canadian advisory council studying prescription drug coverage said on Wednesday the federal government should create a universal, single-payer public pharmacare system and warned the current framework requires significant reforms.

The seven person advisory council, headed by former Liberal Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, said the full single-payer system should be implemented no later than January 1, 2027. The council said a national drug agency should be created first, with coverage for essential medicines in place by January 1, 2022.

Canada is the only country in the world with a universal health care system that does not include universal coverage for prescription drugs. Most prescriptions here are paid for through employer-funded drug plans, while some are covered by government programs for the elderly, or people with low incomes or very high costs. (Reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa and Allison Martell in Toronto Editing by)

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