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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


Absence of universal drug plan in Canada subject of CHEPA seminar on April 20

06 Apr 2011

Canada’s lack of a universal program of pharmaceutical insurance and the possible reasons for this situation will be examined at the CHEPA monthly seminar on April 20.

Katherine Boothe, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, will discuss research that compares the development of health policy in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, in the presentation entitled How the pace of change affects the outcomes you get: the case of pharmaceutical insurance in Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

The research seeks to explain why Canada is the only country within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and with a public health insurance system that fails to cover drugs universally across its population. Based mainly on archival research from the 1940s to the 1970s in each of the three countries, this project provides new insights into the role of sequence and timing in health policy development.

The research found a key distinction between countries that made a radical change at a historic window of opportunity, and those that developed their public health systems piece-by-piece. Where institutional and ideological conditions allowed for large-scale change and all services were introduced simultaneously, countries tended to maintain the full scope of covered services. However, where institutional barriers and ideological disagreements made radical change difficult, health programs were introduced incrementally, and policy development tended to stall after the first priority service was implemented.

The seminar will take place in CRL-B119 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome. For those who aren’t able to attend, you can hear the presentation and view the slides by clicking here at the time of the lecture.

Boothe joined McMaster University in January this year. She specializes in comparative public policy in advanced industrial democracies, with a focus on health policy. Her current research examines the development and reform of pharmaceutical benefits in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. She holds an MA and PhD in political science from the University of British Columbia.

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