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Paper on universal drug coverage cost wins CMAJ award

Jan 03, 2017 |


An article looking into the cost of universal public drug coverage in Canada, authored by Professor Steve Morgan, has won the CMAJ Bruce Squires Award.

The article, published last year, estimated the cost of providing universal public coverage of prescription drugs in Canada and found total spending in the country on prescription medications would drop by $7.3 billion. It concluded that the barrier to implementing pharmacare of perceived costs appeared to be unjustified, and that universal coverage would likely offer substantial savings in the private sector of about $8.2 billion with comparatively little increase in costs to the government (about $1 billion).

Dr. Morgan is the lead author of ‘Estimated cost of universal public coverage of prescription drugs in Canada’ while Associate Professor Michael Law is a co-author.

The Bruce Squires Award is given to authors of a research paper published in CMAJ during the previous year that is the most relevant to the practice of medicine and the most likely to have a positive impact on health care, according to the journal.

Steve Morgan

Professor Steve Morgan

Dr. Morgan also received the 2016 CIHR-IHSPR Article of the Year Award for the article.

He said he was delighted the journal had honoured the work.

“Viewed over 14,000 times on the CMAJ website and mentioned over 1,100 times in various media since it was published in March 2015, our study appears to have sparked a national conversation about drug coverage in Canada.”
Professor Steve Morgan

The article had shown that if Canada achieved outcomes similar to comparable countries with universal public coverage of medicines, Canadians would save approximately $7 billion per year while ensuring that all Canadians were covered for virtually all medically necessary prescription drugs, he said.
“I continue to study the economic and political viability of different models of achieving universal drug coverage in Canada. Though such coverage has been recommended since the 1940s, we are as close to seeing actual policy action now as we have ever been. All it will take now is a true act of political leadership at the federal level.”

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