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Increasing Self-Care Options Will Help Canada’s Struggling Healthcare System — New global report shows government policies and regulations are blocking big savings
Created on 10/18/2022 9:47:11 PM

(TORONTO, ON, October 19, 2022) — Canada is trailing other leading developed countries in realizing the considerable health and financial benefits of self-care, according to a new study released today by the Global Self Care Federation (GSCF).  As a result, Canada is missing a critical opportunity to ease the strain on its healthcare system, still struggling to manage the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Global Self-Care Readiness Index — which considers factors such as public willingness to embrace self-care, health policies and initiatives that enable self-care, and how self-care products are regulated — shows Canada well behind the United States, Britain, Australia, and Germany when it comes to enabling people to practice self-care.

The report highlights clearly that while most Canadians would prefer to treat minor ailments themselves than see a doctor, they are held back by government policies and regulations that limit access to low-risk medications and other self-care products.

“Increasing self-care options for Canadians would eliminate hundreds of thousands of visits to doctors every year and free up billions of dollars to help solve the crisis in access to care,” said Michael Graydon, CEO of Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada. “We need a national Self-Care Strategy that will help people take better care of themselves and ensure they can access a broader range of self-care products and services when they need them.”

Today’s report shows Canada is among the top countries for supporting and adopting self-care options when they are available. Other factors, such as patients’ inability to access or manage their personal health records and tax policies that favour prescription over non-prescription medications, pulled Canada down in the rankings. But the real problem are regulations that severely limit the availability of self-care products in Canada and a much longer time required to reclassify prescription drugs to over-the-counter medications than in other countries.

“One recent study showed that reclassifying just three categories of products from prescription to non-prescription status could save $500 million in drug costs and $250 million in fewer doctor visits every year,” said Graydon. “Yet it takes on average more than two years to reclassify a drug in Canada compared with less than a quarter of that time in Britain and under a year in the United States.”

Graydon stressed that improving access to self-care options is critical to ensure Canada’s healthcare system remains sustainable for those who need it. He called on the federal government to expedite the development of Health Canada’s Self-Care Framework to improve the regulation of self-care products and consumers’ access to them, and to give Health Canada-approved self-care products the same tax status as prescription medications.

For more information about the Global Self-Care Readiness Index and to read the full report, visit selfcarepromise.org/self-care-readiness-index.

About Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada

FHCP is the voice of the food, health and consumer product industry that employs over 350,000 Canadians across businesses of all sizes that manufacture and distribute the safe, high-quality products that are at the heart of healthy homes, healthy communities, and a healthy Canada. Learn more at www.fhcp.ca and www.oneveryshelf.ca and follow us on Twitter at @FHCP_PASC

For more information, contact:
Siobhan Juniku
Communications Manager
FHCP
siobhan.juniku@fhcp.ca
416-817-7301

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