Regardless of the next government, it must be challenged to ensure that municipal pharmacists are at the heart of all plans to design and implement a national pharmacare program. There are undoubtedly many different and legitimate views on how best to deal with the fear that some Canadians cannot afford the drugs they need and that rare diseases and new expensive drug costs cannot be absorbed by the province`s plans for standard drugs. But what worries me deeply is that the „debate“ about a national pharmacare program has excluded the people who have the most to offer on this topic: Canada`s community pharmacist. The Hoskins Committee itself the most recent had no pharmacists and reluctantly invited the community pharmacy to provide „stakeholder“ contributions. Pharmacists are not stakeholders. They are experts and the best advocates for their patients when it comes to issues related to drug shortages, gaps in drug coverage, and ways to improve pharmaceutical programs. If this release of The Tablet is in your hands, Canada will have elected a new government. While I cannot predict the outcome, I know for sure that the next federal government will take a few steps to create a national pharmacare program. It is difficult to know, because none of the parties were aware of the details of their vision of the national pharmaceutical supply. I guess if I stopped 10 people on the street and asked them what a national pharmaceutical program was, I would have at least as many answers. Politicians have offered little beyond broad platitudes on this issue, although the provinces generally agree that they need more funding from Ottawa, regardless of the program.
Of course, the starting point must be to define what national pharmacare is? Is this a common drug form that all provinces agree with? Is this a publicly funded program that covers gaps in coverage that remain despite the province`s pharmacare programs and third-party benefits program? Is it a nationally funded programme that covers expensive medicines and rare diseases? But as the saying goes, „The devil is in the details.“ And these details have the potential to strongly influence patients and community pharmacy. There have been some frivolous suggestions that it would be easy to develop a national formula for essential medicines, and that this would ensure that all Canadians have the „essential“ medicines they need. . . .