The Impact of Mandatory Universal Pharmaceutical Insurance on Prescription Opioid Use: Evidence from Canada

Karen Ugarte Bravo (McMaster University)
Karen Ugarte Bravo
Start date

Monday 15 Feb 2021, 16:30

End date

Monday 15 Feb 2021, 17:30


This paper utilizes a natural experiment and robust nonparametric estimation methods to examine the impact of mandatory universal pharmaceutical insurance on prescription opioid use.

A policy evaluation of Quebec’s implementation of mandatory pharmaceutical insurance to complement the existing universal public health insurance plan, that provides physician and hospital services, is conducted using data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS).

The results show that, among the general population, the policy led to a significant increase in pharmaceutical insurance coverage and a small in magnitude but statistically significant decrease in prescription opioid use. Additionally, the analysis does not find statistical evidence that the increase in pharmaceutical insurance coverage led to a substitution effect away from over-the-counter pain medications and towards prescription opioids for pain treatment.

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