An expert panel will present its final report on a national pharmacare plan today to the federal government. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Expert panel to present its final report on a potential pharmacare system

OTTAWA — An expert panel tasked with developing advice on the implementation of a national pharmacare plan is set to present its final report today to the federal government.

Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s former health minister chairing the advisory council, has said the panel will offer a “detailed blueprint” for a national drug plan.

The panel recommended in an interim report in March that Ottawa create an agency to oversee the rollout of such a plan.

In response, the Liberal government promised in the federal budget to create a new agency to buy drugs in bulk and cut Canadian medication costs as the first step toward a national drug plan.

The government said it intends to work with provinces, territories and other partners to develop the mandate for the national drug agency, with Health Canada to receive $35 million over four years starting in 2019-2020 to create an office to support the plan.

Canada currently has a patchwork of drug plans administered by provinces, mainly for children, seniors and people on social assistance.

A plan managed by the federal government offers coverage to other groups, such as Indigenous people and members of the military while private insurance fills the gaps for some.

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