Since the 1970s, provincial governments have taken
away from Canadians a great deal of their freedom to choose the
prescription drugs they use. Provincial drug-benefit plans now
account for almost half of the country's prescription spending,
forcing Canadians to trade off an easily measured burden on
taxpayers with benefits to patients that are not well measured.
Provinces vary significantly in how they provide this coverage.
This paper discusses differences between provincial drug plans
with respect to breadth of coverage and cost sharing between
patients and taxpayers, and introduces two new measurements to
describe how provincial Pharmacare plans perform as insurers and
how generous they are to their beneficiaries. Finally, we compare
these measurements with provinces' spending on their prescription
benefit plans and consider which provinces get most value for
their taxpayers' money.