The Trudeau government is about to unveil its draft legislation for a national drug plan. But without a strong show of public support, we risk getting a Big Pharma-favoured "fill-in-the gap" plan that simply won't work for Canadians. Now is the time to let Health Minister Mark Holland know that we want pharmacare, and we want it done right: public, universal, comprehensive.
The case for pharmacare
Canada is falling behind
Canada is the only country with a universal health care system that doesn't include drug coverage.
Canadians pay more for our medications
Between dozens of public drug plans and tens of thousands of private drug plans, we lack the bargaining power to negotiate lower prices for prescription medication. A single-payer insurance plan is the only way to realize the cost-savings potential of a Pharmacare program.
Skipping medications puts pressure on our health care system
More than 3.4 million Canadians, or 11% of our population, cannot afford their medications. No one should be forced to make a decision between filling a prescription and paying rent or buying groceries. Skipped medications lead to an additional $1 billion in cost in our acute care system. It also leads to 300-700 preventable deaths annually.
We have a clear roadmap and all the information needed to make Pharmacare a reality
The federal government's own advisory committee, headed by Dr. Erik Hoskins, recommended a national Pharmacare plan that is universal, public, comprehensive, accessible, and portable. Every credible analysis finds that such a program would require only $3.5 billion in public spending and would generate savings of $5 to $11.4 billion per year. These savings would go to individuals, governments, and private employers and could be used to reinvest much needed dollars into our health care system.
Pharmacare in the news
A grassroots NDP group has drafted an emergency resolution they hope will be debated at the upcoming NDP policy convention that calls on the party to hold the Liberals to their promise of a universal pharmacare bill — or pull the plug on the confidence and supply agreement.
With just 30 sitting days left before the NDP’s deadline to pass a pharmacare bill, New Democrats, advocates say anything short of a universal, single-payer program is ‘unacceptable.’
Multi-payer pharmacare will fail Canadians | Steve Morgan
Private insurers want Canada to embrace a multi-payer pharmacare system without the tools necessary to protect public interests, promote equity, and ensure value.
Fill-the-gaps won’t do on pharmacare | Steve Morgan
The pharmaceutical and insurance industries are intensely lobbying the Liberal government to put employers on the hook for most of the cost of national pharmacare. This would happen if the Liberals adopt a “fill-the-gaps” approach that makes costly, private drug coverage a cornerstone of their national pharmacare plan. Businesses in every other sector of the economy should take note and fight back.
Debunking Big Pharma’s Myths about Pharmacare | Joel Lexchin
As lobby groups argue against a universal drug coverage plan, here’s a fact-check.