As election day draws near, it is important that Canadians have a good understanding how each of the major parties plan to manage the ~3 million citizens in Canada that have a rare disease.
At press time, the information that each of the parties provides about managing people with rare diseases is limited but below is what we know so far.
The Liberal Party stated they will spend $500 million a year towards the creation of a rare disease strategy. What that strategy includes is not clear. A few years ago, the Canadian Organization of Rare Disorders (CORD) proposed a rare disease strategy for Canada – whether or not that becomes part of the Liberal Party’s strategy is not clear. The Liberal Party also plans to move forward with its National Pharmacare proposal which includes a section focused on “expensive drugs for rare diseases’.
The Conservative Party is less clear on their position towards managing rare disease. In a news release, the party noted that “Andrew Scheer is also committed to working with provinces to ensure that Canadians with rare diseases have access to the treatments that they need”. The Conservative Party does not plan to implement the Liberals’ National Pharmacare plan but has proposed to work with provinces to improve outcomes for patients.
The New Democratic Party have not provided a position regarding rare diseases but they do plan to have a national, universal, public pharmacare program to “make sure all Canadians can access the prescription medicine they need with their health card, not their credit card.”
The Green Party has not addressed rare diseases in their platform directly but does support a national pharmacare program for all Canadians. It also wants to create a bulk drug purchasing agency and reduce drug patent protections periods. How that would affect orphan drug pricing or access to orphan drugs is not clear. The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, has been a strong and vocal supporter of the rare disease community. How that may translate into a larger policy is not clear.