The Best Medicines Coalition (BMC) is a broad-based alliance of organizations and individuals with a shared vision of equitable and consistent access for all Canadians to safe, effective and good quality drugs which improve patient outcomes. Within this context, the BMC’s areas of interest span from approval and reimbursement through patient safety concerns.


As an important aspect of its work, the BMC strives to ensure that Canadian patients have a voice and are meaningful participants in health care policy development and pharmaceutical review. As a patient-driven organization, the BMC represents millions of Canadians living with or affected by chronic disease or illness.  The BMC is both an unincorporated and non-profit organization.




The Best Medicines Coalition (BMC) is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have safe and timely access to medications that have been shown, based on best available evidence, to improve outcomes for patients.




Through ethical partnerships between the BMC, provincial and federal governments, non-profit and private sectors and other relevant stakeholders, including disability and disease groups, our goals are to:


·                  Strengthen drug review and post-marketing safety surveillance systems to ensure that patients have timely access and comprehensive knowledge of risks and benefits throughout the life cycle of each drug.

·                  Establish an effective pan-Canadian drug system which provides an appropriate standard of efficient, equitable and consistent access throughout the country.

·                  Implement effective models for meaningful and equitable participation of patients in drug reviews and general health policy development

·                  Further public awareness of relevant issues within the BMC Mission.




The BMC is comprised of representatives from a broad range of patient/consumer groups as well as individuals living with or affected by chronic disease. Together, these representatives form a Steering Committee from which an Operations Committee, including a Chair and Vice Chair, are elected annually. The Operations Committee oversees all BMC activities, including developing policy positions and representing the organization at consultations and other meetings. Members from both the Steering Committee and the Operations Committee form smaller Working Groups, which work on specific issues.


All members meet twice a year, including an in-person Annual General Meeting held in the Fall and a separate meeting, often a conference call, in the Spring. Numerous other issue-specific meetings and conference calls are held throughout the year as needed, including regular, bi-weekly Operations Committee conference calls to plan day-to-day activities and Working Group calls for specific issues.



Operating Committee (2013/2014)


Gail Attara, President & CEO, Gastrointestinal Society (BMC Chair)

Linda Wilhelm, Independent Member (Past Chair)

Denis Morrice, Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (Treasurer)

Christine Janus, Individual Member

Dr. Katharina Kovacs-Burns, Individual Member



BMC Issue Working Groups


Drug Access Working Group

·                  Catastrophic drug coverage

·                  Provincial drug program policy

·                  Pharmaceutical review

·                  Private drug insurance environment


Patient Involvement Working Group

·                  General patient engagement issues

·                  Patient input into pharmaceutical reviews

·                  Regulations governing patient representation


Safety and Supply Working Group

·                  Drug shortages

·                  Drug safety surveillance/clinical trials

·                  Progressive licensing


Ontario Issues Working Group

·                  Drummond recommendations

·                  Public Drug program/exceptional access


BMC Members


Patient Groups:

Arthritis Consumer Experts: Kelly Lendvoy www.arthritisconsumerexperts.org 

Tel: 604-974-1366  lendvoyl@jointhealth.org

Asthma Society of Canada: Robert Oliphant www.asthma.ca 

Tel: 416-787-4050  roliphant@asthma.ca

Better Pharmacare Coalition (B.C.): Rennie Hoffman www.betterpharmacare.org

Tel: 604-992-2757  chair@betterpharmacare.org

Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance: Linda Wilhelm www.arthritispatient.ca

Tel: 506-485-2001  lindaa.wilhelm@gmail.com

Canadian Breast Cancer Network: Jenn McNeil Gordon www.cbcn.ca 

Tel: 514-739-8210  jmcneil@cbcn.ca

Canadian Epilepsy Alliance: Denis Morrice   www.epilepsymatters.com

Tel: 416-690-0610  dmorrice@klick.com

Canadian Hemophilia Society: Bill Featherstone www.hemophilia.ca 

Tel: 204-981-7967 bfeatherstone@mymts.net

Canadian Pain Society: Dr. Barry Sessle www.canadianpainsociety.ca 

Tel: 905-404-9545 office@canadianpainsociety.ca

Canadian Skin Patient Alliance: Christine Janus www.skinpatientalliance.ca 

Tel: 613-422-4265  christine@canadianskin.ca

Canadian Society of Intestinal Research: Kimberly Charbonneau www.badgut.org

Tel: 604-875-4875  kimberly@badgut.org

Canadian Treatment Action Council: Brian Huskins www.ctac.ca 

Tel: 416-410-6538  brian@ctac.ca

Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada: Daniel Gillespie www.canceradvocacy.ca 

Tel: 416-538-4874  danielgillespie@canceradvocacy.ca

Creating Synergy Health Coalition (Alta) John Bachynsky www.creatingsynergy.ab.ca

Tel: 780-726-1384  jbachynsky@pharmacy.ualberta.ca

Gastrointestinal Society: Gail Attara www.badgut.org 

Tel: 604-875-4875  gail@badgut.org

Kidney Cancer Canada: Deborah Maskens www.kidneycancercanada.org

Tel: 519-767-0302  dmaskens@rogers.com

Lymphoma Foundation Canada: Sue Robson www.lymphoma.ca 

Tel: 905-822-5135  sue@lymphoma.ca

Ovarian Cancer Canada:  Kelly Grover www.ovariancanada.org

Tel: 416-972-2700  kgrover@ovariancanada.org

Parkinson Society Canada: Vanessa Foran                         www.parkinson.ca

Tel:  416-227-3396   Vanessa.Foran@parkinson.ca

Tourette Syndrome Foundation: Lynn McLarnon www.tourette.ca 

Tel: 905-673-2255  lynn@tourette.ca

Independent Members:

Lembi Buchanan, B.C.

Tel: 778-430-9900 lembi@rogers.com www.whychoicematters.com

Marjorie Harris, B.C.;

Tel: 250-546-2953 marjorieharris@telus.net

Katharina Kovacs Burns, Alta;

Tel: 780-492-7766 kathy.kovacsburns@ualberta.ca

Lisa Mortell, B.C.;

Tel: 250-442-1280 ljmortell@shaw.ca

Suzanne Nurse, ON

Tel: 519-495-4662 suzannemnurse@gmail.com

Robert Reinhard, ON

Tel: 647-343-4147 rjreinhard@gmail.com


BMC is a member of the International Alliance of Patients' Organizations (IAPO) - www.patientsorganizations.org




To become a member of BMC, please contact Paulette Eddy, Executive Director at paulette@bestmedicines.ca




As outlined in our Funding Statement (PDF file), the BMC receives financial support through private and public sources, as well as through member contributions. Our Terms of Reference (PDF file) outlines our Principles and Codes for Ethical Conduct and Partnerships.


A grassroots organization, all BMC members are volunteers, with two staff members supporting their work. There is no set member fee, but a voluntary, annual membership contribution is requested. In addition, some member organizations appoint a staff representative, and this expertise is viewed as in-kind support.