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The Conference Board of Canada Launches National Pharmacare Initiative

Ottawa, May 10, 2018—The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC) is launching the National Pharmacare Initiative (NPI). The goal of the NPI is to inform and support current public discussion and debate about potential approaches to ensuring universal access to pharmacare for Canadians.

Several recent developments have led the Conference Board and CASHC to focus on this issue. These include the federal government’s announcement of the appointment of a national advisory council to study the implementation of a national pharmacare program in its 2018 budget; and more recently, the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health’s call for the establishment of a universal pharmacare program and guaranteed access under the Canada Health Act.

The NPI will feature a variety of research, dialogue, and consensus-building activities between now and the end of 2018. Leadership is provided by a Steering Committee representative of patients, governments, industry, and health system leaders. The Committee is chaired by Fred Horne, health policy consultant and former Alberta Minister of Health.

“Many questions and concerns remain unanswered related to this issue, such as how Canada should define “national pharmacare”, what it should include, who should pay for it, how it should be administered, and which organizations need to be involved,” said Thy Dinh, Director, Health Economics, The Conference Board of Canada. “The National Pharmacare Initiative will provide a single clearinghouse for current, reliable, and accurate information regarding proposals for a national pharmacare model.”

The NPI will begin with a Leader’s Roundtable in Ottawa on June 12, 2018 to discuss foundational principles and develop consensus on access standards, criteria, and methodology for evaluating funding and delivery models, and innovation and investment strategies. A National Pharmacare Summit will be held in Toronto on November 22, 2018 to discuss options for a national pharmacare strategy.

For more information about the National Pharmacare Initiative visit the website at

About the Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care

Launched in 2011, The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC) has been examining some of the key challenges facing the Canadian health care system, including aging Canadian seniors, unmet care needs, labour requirements, sedentary behaviour, workplace health and wellness, and health system design to develop forward-looking qualitative and quantitative analysis and solutions to make the health system sustainable. CASHC is a multi-funder centre representing public, private and not-for-profit sector organizations.

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