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Canadian Pharmacare: Performance, Incentives, and Insurance

Type: Research Studies
Date Published: March 15, 2005
Research Topics:
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.
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