Action Canada Welcomes National Pharmacare Strategy but Concern Over Essential Medication List and Most Marginalized Remains

The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare has released its final report today and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is pleased to see the recommendation of a universal, single payer, national public pharmacare system. This is the only equitable approach to the delivery of health care that will meet human rights standards.

However, we remain concerned that a phased approach that prioritizes commonly used medicines or essential medicines may not include the most important sexual and reproductive health medications and fail to meet human rights standards until 2027. The needs of the most marginalized people must be considered first by any health policy or government program.

Many sexual and reproductive health medicines and devices—such as contraceptives, abortion medication, HIV medications and medicines that support trans health—are especially critical for people who experience intersectional discrimination and vulnerability due to race, class, sexuality, and gender. These medications must be considered essential and it is critical that the first phase of the national formulary include all sexual and reproductive health medications and devices.

“It’s often the most marginalized people, the people who need it most, who are the people left behind,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Adding that “Unless all sexual and reproductive health medications, including the full spectrum of HIV medications and all forms of contraceptives, including IUDs, are on the first iteration of a national formulary, the patients we advocate for will continue to be left behind with huge costs to their health and their lives.”  

Hundreds of thousands of people are currently falling through the cracks, unable to afford the medicine and devices they need to support their sexual and reproductive health. A National Pharmacare Strategy that meets the needs of all people also uphold their sexual health and rights. That includes the ability to manage your own fertility, decide if and when to have children, have healthy pregnancies, affirm your own gender, and prevent, treat or manage sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. All of these rights need to be considered in the creation of Canada’s essential medications list.

Any national pharmacare strategy must include all sexual and reproductive health drugs—and cover all people, especially the most marginalized. “We need to see the most marginalized populations prioritized, not considered an afterthought,” says Prasad.


Ani Colekessian
Director of Communications
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
613-241-4474 ext 7


Posted on 2019-06-12