SOURCE: Canadian Health Policy Institute


September 26, 2016 06:00 ET

If Canada Adopts New Zealand's Prescription Drug Policies There Will Be Fewer Treatment Options and Poorer Health Outcomes for Patients: Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI) Study

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 26, 2016) - The federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Health has been holding ongoing hearings about the Development of a National Pharmacare Program in Canada. Advocates of national pharmacare have told the Committee that Canada should adopt a New Zealand-style prescription drug system. However, a new study suggests that importing New Zealand-styled pharmacare policies into our country would lead to fewer drug treatment options and poorer health outcomes for Canadian patients.

The study compared access to medicines in Canada and New Zealand across nine drug classes, including anti-infective agents, cardiovascular drugs, gastrointestinal drugs, musculoskeletal agents, nervous system drugs, oral hypoglycemic drugs, respiratory system drugs, and recently approved oncology and rare disorder drugs. Mortality and hospitalization rates for related health conditions were also examined.

Examining a group of 248 drugs the analysis showed that, compared to Canada, fewer new drugs were approved for sale and fewer drugs were publicly insured in New Zealand.

The study also found that death rates from related conditions like acute myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal conditions and peptic ulcer were higher in New Zealand than in Canada. The hospitalization rate in New Zealand was also higher than in Canada for cerebrovascular disease, malignant neoplasms, musculoskeletal conditions and diabetes.

The study was published at Canadian Health Policy the online journal of Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI).

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The article, How might the choice of prescription drugs in provincial public insurance plans be impacted if a cost-control system like New Zealand's was adopted in Canada?, is available online at:

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Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI) is an independent think-tank dedicated to providing information and ideas for a better health system.

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