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Opinion

National pharmacare essential, but must be accompanied by good stewardship of public funds

I am delighted to see the final report of the advisory council on pharmacare. I strongly support universal single-payer public pharmacare so Canadians have access to medicines. I hope the recommendations will be implemented. However, I am concerned about the prices Canadians pay. There has not been progress to reform the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. In 2017, I proposed regulatory changes to help the PMPRB protect consumers from high prices. This included changing the countries with which we compared prices. We said that value for money should factor into drug prices. We proposed that refunds should be reported to increase transparency and set fair prices. Those changes were to be in place by the end of 2018, but this has not happened. National pharmacare is essential, but it must be accompanied by good stewardship of public funds. Canadians should not pay the third highest drug prices in the world. I encourage the minister of health to proceed with the PMPRB reform without further delay.
Independent MP Jane Philpott
Markham-Stouffville, Ont.

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