Understanding the healthcare system
While health care delivery is a provincial responsibility in Canada, the federal government plays a role in funding and providing a national regulatory system for drugs and other healthcare products and services. Ottawa's financial contribution enables the provinces to respect the set of national standards outlined in the Canada Health Act.
The federally-funded Medicare system, however, only covers services provided within hospital and/or under the direct care of a physician. All other services, (home care, community-based pharmaceutical care, ambulance services, etc.) are provided at the discretion of the provinces.
This means that, while hospital and physician services are universally covered for all Canadians, the extent of public coverage for medications and other important health-related services depend on the patient's province of residence.
Through provincial drug plans and private insurance programs, the vast majority of Canadians have full or partial financial support for needed medications. In 2002, more than 350 million prescriptions were dispensed through Canadian retail pharmacies.
Role of research-based pharmaceutical companies
Research-based pharmaceutical companies discover and develop innovative medicines that help Canadians live longer and more productive lives.
Innovative medicines can also help save health care dollars by controlling and preventing disease; by helping people avoid more expensive and invasive treatments; by reducing the number and the duration of hospitalizations; and by reducing the number of visits to physicians.
The majority of healthcare dollars are spent on hospitals and other long-term care institutions (39.5%), as well as physicians and other professionals (24.8%). Representing only 6.5% of the total healthcare spending, patented prescription medicines are one of the most cost-effective medical interventions.
Related websites for health care
Main page of the Health Canada Web site; links to topics covered on the Web site, latest advisories, news releases and current Web site ... www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
Public Health Agency of Canada
Protects the health and safety of Canadians through the prevention of chronic disease and injuries, public health emergencies, and infectious disease ... www.publichealth.gc.ca