Document Type


Publication Date



Canada should implement national pharmacare consistent with the principles outlined in the Pharmacare 2020 report. (Morgan et al. 2015a) The best evidence we have shows that national pharmacare will save approximately $7 billion and — more importantly — hundreds of lives each year. (Morgan et al. 2015b)

The issue, then, is not whether to institute national pharmacare, but how. For, even though the need for national pharmacare has been plain since the 1964 Hall Commission, the landscape of medicine and pharmaceuticals has changed dramatically since then.

Of particular note is the pharmaceutical industry’s growing interest in drugs that target relatively small patient populations — often described interchangeably as ‘orphan’, ‘niche’, or ‘specialty’ drugs — in the pursuit of so-called ‘personalized’ or ‘precision medicine.’

This brief focuses specifically on the challenges posed by the push for more personalized medicine. These challenges serve to underscore why national pharmacare is needed, and define some of its essential features.


Authors manuscript of brief published by the Standing Committee on Health, House of Commons, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session.