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May 27th day of action to call on Liberal MPs to push for pharmacare in caucus meetings

Can these Liberal MPs explain why their government hasn’t implemented pharmacare?

The Council of Canadians is mobilizing for a day of action in support of pharmacare on Saturday May 27.

While this poll shows that 91 per cent of Canadians want pharmacare, and this report notes that implementing it could save up to $14 billion dollars annually, Health Minister Jane Philpott stated last April that pharmacare is not part of her mandate, that it is too costly, and that it will not be introduced in this Parliament.

At the same time, the Trudeau government is pushing hard for the provisional application of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that lengthens the patent protection for drugs and that researchers say will add between $850 million and $1.65 billion each year to our costs.

How is it that we can afford CETA but not pharmacare?

Earlier this year, CBC reported, “Canadian pays the second-highest drug prices in the world, after only people living in the United States.” The CBC has also highlighted, “Canada wasted $15 billion over the last five years on highly priced prescription drugs, in part because of questionable drug company sales tactics.”

And yet under pharmacare a new national agency that provides transparency and accountability in the process of determining what drugs are covered based on appropriateness, safety, value for money, and objective evidence-based medical reviews would save billions.

Canada is the only developed country with universal health care that doesn’t have some form of universal pharmacare. Big Pharma wants to keep it that way. We need a grassroots mobilization to pressure the Liberal government to change this.

The House of Commons will be in recess between May 20-28, with Members of Parliament back in their home riding and available to meet with their constituents. This will be a key time to meet with your Liberal MP before the House breaks for the summer (on June 9) and before the House reconvenes (on September 18) with its fall legislative agenda.

Let us work together to pressure Liberal MPs to make a national pharmacare program part of that fall legislative agenda.

To assist with this, the Council will be publishing a new report on pharmacare, producing an MP lobby guide, a myths vs. facts leaflet, and video, as well as commissioning a new poll to determine the level of support for pharmacare among Liberal voters.

In the meantime, you can join with the thousands who have already sent this letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Jane Philpott calling on them to take immediate action on pharmacare.