Canada’s registered nurses believe that every Canadian should have timely access to safe and effective prescription drugs, and that no Canadian should be deprived of needed prescription drugs because they are unable to pay.
CNA believes that federal, provincial and territorial governments should fulfill their commitment to implement the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy, as outlined in their 2004 statement, A 10-year plan to strengthen health care.
Building on discussions in 2000 and 2003, Canada’s First Ministers agreed to take measures to ensure that all Canadians, wherever they live, have reasonable access to catastrophic drug coverage. They also agreed to promote optimal drug use, best practices in drug prescribing, and better management of the costs of all prescription drugs, including generic drugs, to ensure that drugs are safe, effective and accessible in a timely and cost-effective fashion.
According to a status report on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy by the Health Council of Canada, progress in all of these areas has been unacceptable.
The 2009 federal funding announcement to provide $500 million to Canada Health Infoway (CHI) to expand the electronic health records is a good start. CNA believes CHI should target a portion of those funds to continue development of the infostructure needed to implement e-prescribing – an important strategy for promoting patient safety by reducing medication errors that cost the system millions of dollars.
CNA, as a member of the Coalition for a Canadian Pharmaceutical Strategy, has been working to make sure all Canadians – including the 20 per cent who currently have no insurance or are underinsured for prescription drugs – have access to the pharmaceutical medications they need.
Nurses are strongly committed to providing safe, equitable and effective health care. Pharmaceuticals are an important part of that care.