Informing a National Pharmacare Plan

Dr. Nav Persaud’s groundbreaking work has shown that providing essential medicines free of charge will remove financial barriers and save billions.

Access to medications can mean the difference between life and death. Yet research has shown that 2.4 million Canadians don’t take the drugs they need because they can’t afford them. When people who are struggling to make ends meet do pay for their medicine, they often give up essentials like heat and food. Canada is the only high-income country in which health-care services are publicly insured but medications aren’t. It’s time for change.

Leading the charge is Dr. Nav Persaud, a top researcher at St. Michael’s preeminent Centre for Urban Health Solutions (C-UHS) and a fierce advocate for marginalized populations. Dr. Persaud and his colleagues developed a list of 140 drugs – dubbed Essential Medicines – that would cover most Canadians’ medical needs. Remarkably, if these medicines were offered at no charge to all Canadians, the system would save an astounding $3.1 billion a year.

Dr. Persaud’s work is just one of the invaluable research projects being undertaken by the C-UHS. The Centre’s unique research mandate, and the programs it produces as a result, not only change the lives of the disadvantaged, but offer improvements to the systems that affect all Canadians.

Scientists and clinicians like Dr. Persaud couldn’t do it without the support of our donors.