One-in-four households struggle to pay for prescription medicines

Can't afford prescriptions

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the Canadian health care system, revealing the millions of people who are struggling to get the prescription medicines they need.

A study conduced in 2015 by the Angus Reid Institute found that one quarter of Canadian households were struggling to pay prescription costs. A recent study has revealed this situation has not improved in 2020 while the world faces a pandemic. 

In the last year, 23 per cent of Canadians have chosen not to fill or refill a prescription due to costs. 

Many are in favour of a national pharmacare program with 86 per cent supporting the idea and 77 per cent saying increasing coverage for Canadians should be a main focus for government.

Looking at prescription drug costs, 26 per cent of Canadians say they've had to pay for half or more of them over the last year. This rises to 37 per cent for households earning less than $50,000 per year.

Another interesting find suggests Canadians are twice as likely to have lost their coverage for prescription drugs in the last year with 14 per cent compared to only seven per cent who have gained it.

Over the next 10 years, 44 per cent of Canadians say they are worried about their ability to afford prescription drugs and only 24 per cent feel 'very confident' that they will be able to cover costs. 

This study was conducted by the non-profit Angus Reid Institute in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health; St. Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto; the Carleton University Faculty of Public Affairs and School of Public Policy and Administration; and Women's College Hospital, Toronto.


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