This afternoon Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled his government’s third budget, focussing on a strong middle class, gender equality, indigenous reconciliation, and – as leaked yesterday upon the resignation of Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins – a new Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
According to Budget 2018, the new advisory council will be tasked with working closely with experts to complete an economic & social assessment of domestic and international pharmacare models. It is expected that the council will report back to government in 2019 with recommended options for “how to move forward together on this important subject”. Budget 2018 also confirms that former Ontario Health Minister, Eric Hoskins will chair the new Advisory Council.
As the last before the 2019 election-year budget, the 2018 “Equality & Growth” themed budget contains $21.5B in new funding over 6 years and $18.1B deficit for fiscal year 2018-19.
With recent work on a 2-year project to review and report on Development of a National Pharmacare Program almost completed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, and the October 2017 Parliamentary Budget Officer’s Report estimating the cost of a national pharmacare program in Canada, it is yet to be seen how the creation of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare and results of the previous work by the federal government in this area will coalesce towards action on national pharmacare in 2019 and beyond.
Other key health sector funding announcements include:
- $231M over 5 years to address the opioid crisis
- $38.6B Canada Health Transfer to provinces and territories in 2018-19
- $48M over 3 years for Centre for Drug Research & Development
- $20M over 5 years towards a community-based approach to dementia
- $20M over 5 years towards two new initiatives to support needs of Canadians experiencing autism spectrum disorder
- $75M in 2018–19 to support the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project in New Brunswick
- $700M boost to science & innovation agenda
Stay tuned for more from PDCI on how these developments will affect the Canadian pharmaceutical industry and patient access to innovative medicines.