The Toronto Star reports that Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and health care campaigner Michael Butler have joined with 300 health professionals and academics in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling on him to support universal pharmacare.
The letter states, "Soon, your government will be engaging Canada’s premiers and ministers of health in discussions about a new health accord. We hope universal pharmacare will be at the top of your agenda for those discussions. Here’s why. Pharmaceuticals are so essential to health and well-being that the World Health Organization has declared that all nations should ensure universal access to necessary medicines. Consistent with that recommendation, every developed country with a universal health care system provides universal coverage of medically necessary prescriptions except Canada."
It adds, "Unlike any comparable country, Canada’s universal public health care system effectively ends as soon as a patient is handed a prescription to fill. Millions of Canadians have no drug coverage at all and millions more have coverage that is inadequate to ensure access to medicines. As a result, almost one quarter of Canadians report they or members of their household have not taken medicines as prescribed because of costs."
And the letter concludes, "Your campaign promised a better Canada including a federal government that will not let problems of the past persist when there is an opportunity to improve the lives of Canadians. Pharmacare is the unfinished business of the Canadian healthcare system. Your government is in the fortunate position to expand medicare’s public mandate to include prescription drugs, and ensure a sunnier future for all Canadians as a result. You can count on our support as you plan a course for doing so."
To read the full letter and the complete list of signatories to it, please click here.
For more on our health care campaign, click here.