Inside This Issue - News
Bigger role for pharmacy is envisioned in Canada
April 22nd, 2013
TORONTO – Canada’s pharmacy community can cut the country’s health care costs by up to $11 billion (Canadian) over three years by bringing more cost-effective care to more people, a new report says.
The document, “9000 Points of Care: Improving Access to Affordable Healthcare,” presents pharmacy initiatives to improve outcomes, deliver greater value and enhance the patient experience. Developed by the broader pharmacy industry, including community pharmacy, generic drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical distributors, it was unveiled here this month.
“The big idea here isn’t that there is a report, but that there are tangible actions that can be taken now,” says Frank Scorpiniti, chairman of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and chief executive officer of Rexall. “These actions will help patients by ensuring they have the care they need, when they need it, where they need it. And by lowering health care costs, and providing greater value within our health system, this plan helps Canada.”
Domenic Pilla, president and chief executive officer of Shoppers Drug Mart, adds, “We have billions of dollars in health care savings that can be achieved through public policy changes alone. Many of these recommendations are among the fastest and least costly improvements we can make to our health system, and we can make many of them now.”
The document focuses on the benefits of five key pharmacy actions:
• Expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice to treat minor ailments and administer vaccines.
• Boosting utilization of generic drugs.
• Managing chronic conditions.
• Leveraging the pharmaceutical distribution model.
• Further preventing adverse drug reactions.
Canada is a world leader in the generic drug industry, says CACDS president and chief executive officer Denise Carpenter, adding that from a public policy perspective, encouraging the country’s greater use of generic drugs is “a no-brainer.” Every year, she says, “we could save the cost of running Ontario’s University Health Network and Sunnybrook hospitals combined.”
Despite daunting and urgent challenges confronting the system, Canada’s approach to health care is admired around the globe for its quality and equity, the report says.
But health care accounts for more than 40% of most provincial budgets, and study after study has shown the cost burden worsening. Canadians age 65 and over represent only 14% of the population, but they account for about 45% of all provincial and territorial government health spending. The number of seniors with multiple prescriptions is on the rise, with almost two-thirds taking five or more drugs from different classes. And the number of seniors is expected to nearly double by 2036.
“Canada’s broader pharmacy community appreciates those challenges, and has the knowledge, tools and resources to contribute to sustainable solutions that will help relieve system costs and make Canadians healthier,” the document states.