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Halifax townhall on Pharmacare final consultation for Advisory Council

The Advisory Council on Implementation of National Pharmacare held their final consultation last night in Halifax, wrapping up several months of cross-country meetings to gather feedback on how Pharmacare should be implemented.

Over 100 people attended the event, which consisted mostly of an open-mic style participation by the audience with intermittent comments from Council members Diana Whalen (former MLA in Nova Scotia) and Camille Orridge.

Participants who spoke up included union members, patient advocates, registered nurses and others working in the healthcare industry, family caregivers, individuals who live with chronic conditions, and others. Many important points were raised throughout the session, and most raised one or more of the principles we believe must be the basis of a national Pharmacare program:

  • Universality

  • Public, single-payer

  • Accessibility

  • Comprehensiveness

  • Portable coverage

Specific points were raised about the importance of supporting marginalized communities and recognizing that medications needed may vary depending on gender, race and other factors. Accessibility is different from coverage which highlights the current patchwork system isn’t working, especially for marginalized communities including racialized, refugees, students, the homeless, the elderly, the working poor, and others. Indigenous communities have a completely different health care experience from settlers given the nation-to-nation relationship

Advisory Council members indicated, via their meetings with stakeholders and townhalls in major centres over the past few months, that feedback from other jurisdictions leaned more towards a mix of public-private whereas the Halifax townhall did not have any explicit opposition to the principles listed above. Although the consultation process is now complete and the Advisory Council will now turn to writing their report for the Federal Ministers of Health and Finance, this speaks to the need for individuals to reach out to their Members of Parliament and these Ministers to reiterate the points above.

See more information about our campaign on Pharmacare here.