For years, healthcare researchers and economists have explored and expounded the advantages of implementing a national Pharmacare program in Canada. Yet, the federal government has resisted or ignored the arguments presented them. Now, facing sky-rocketing pharmaceutical prices, both individuals and governments are seeking novel approaches to mitigate drug costs and ultimately provide better health outcomes for all Canadians.
This paper explores how Alberta might unilaterally implement a universal prescription drug program for its citizens. Comparing how different healthcare systems provide pharmaceutical benefits within their own, unique structures elucidates the variety of partnership and financing options available to Alberta. Overall, the research shows that success is best achieved by focusing first on how to improve health outcomes by identifying “at risk” populations and then addressing funding models based on efficacy, while maintaining the equity which is so valued in the Canadian healthcare system.
In furtherance of this goal, the paper contains an assessment of how current partnerships and standards address the cost of prescription drugs and how best to integrate existing systems into a novel, uniquely Albertan prescription drug plan. The paper ultimately provides recommendations for government for the implementation of the plan. Successes achieved in other programs shows that by focusing our attention on specific populations and providing a fair and progressive financing model, Alberta can assume a leadership role by providing an efficient, equitable and sustainable drug plan for its residents.