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Canadians' Access to Insurance for Prescription Medicines (NA202)

Recipient: Health Services Division, Health Policy and Communications Branch, Health Canada

Contribution: $300,000

This project reviewed Canadians’ access to insurance coverage of prescription drugs. This project also analyzed those who had no or inadequate prescription drug coverage. Volume I of the study describes the features of the various plans as well as relevant circumstances, such as province of residence, socio-economic status, and drug needs. Volume II determines the number of Canadians who, during 1998, had no or inadequate coverage. One of this project’s major findings is that certain groups have a greater portion of out-of-pocket expenses than others do. Those who are particularly vulnerable are young people aged 18 to 24, schizophrenics and others with mental health problems, those whose illness makes them less employable or leads to disability, and those who have a disease requiring new, often costly drug therapies. A key finding was that while 90 per cent of Canadians have some coverage for routine drug expenses, about 10 per cent do not and another 10 per cent are underinsured.

Fact Sheet


This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.


Last Modified: 2005-08-29