Liberals pledging to boost investments in mental health, pharmacare

The Liberal Party of Canada is promising a number of health-care reforms in its election platform, including a national pharmacare program and improved access to mental-health services.

According to a backgrounder document, the Liberals are aiming to “strengthen the Canada Health Act to make sure the full range of mental-health services required by Canadians are available in every province and territory, introduce new accountability standards so that Canadians can know what to expect from the public health system when they need it and continue to crack down on private delivery and extra billing.”

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In terms of pharmacare, the Liberal party said it will be guided by the advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare, which it convened in its 2018 budget. The council’s recommendations, announced in March 2019, include establishing the Canada Drug Agency to make drug purchasing more effective and efficient; implementing a national formulary with provinces, territories and other stakeholders to further lower drug prices; and introducing a rare disease drug strategy to help Canadians save on the high cost of these drugs.

The backgrounder noted the Liberals expect these measures to run about $6 billion in additional health-care investment over the next four years, representing an anticipated cost of $750 million in 2020-21 and increasing to $1.75 billion in 2023-24.

Read: Industry responds to expert panel’s pharmacare report