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Vancouver-Burnaby chapter raises pharmacare with Liberal MP Joyce Murray at public forum

Liberal MP Joyce Murray

The Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby chapter handed out a hundred fact sheets and brochures on pharmacare at a public meeting where Liberal Member of Parliament Joyce Murray was a panellist.

Chapter activist Penny Tilby tells us, “On Friday, several members of our chapter attended a public meeting on the subject of pharmacare, organized by a community group. Our MP Joyce Murray was on the panel after the main speaker. There were about a hundred people at the meeting, and an excellent speaker strongly advocating a national pharmacare program. We gave everyone there our fact sheet and brochure, and got to give Murray the Council’s new report, A Prescription for Better Medicine: How universal pharmacare would give Canada an economic advantage.”

Tilby adds, “It was clear from Murray’s remarks on the panel that she is using the excuse that problems around inappropriate drug prescribing and use must be solved before she would support a national program, despite information to the contrary given by the speaker. The good news was that a hundred people got our materials, heard that the Council of Canadians was lobbying MPs across the country, and could see from our documents how closely our position fit with what they heard from the speaker.”

Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt has commented, “Pharmacare is not anywhere near the top of the federal government’s to-do list at present. Health Minister Jane Philpott has been saying repeatedly that her mandate, as far as it concerns drug prices and availability, is limited to getting better deals within the status quo.”

That article adds, “The Commons health committee has been studying the idea of a national pharmacare program off and on since late 2015. But neither Philpott nor her government has shown much enthusiasm for the committee’s work — at least so far.” That committee is expected to release a report with recommendations this fall.

The Council of Canadians is trying to build momentum to pressure the Liberals on pharmacare. Sixteen chapters have raised pharmacare with their MP over the past several days. To assist with that effort, we also released the results of an Environics poll that confirmed a high level of support for pharmacare in this country – 91 per cent of Canadians would support the Trudeau government implementing pharmacare.

To tell the Prime Minister and Health Minister it’s time for pharmacare, please go to on our online action alert here.