Barlow speaks on pharmacare at Unifor's Canadian Council meeting in Winnipeg

Photo by Brigette DePape

Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow spoke in Winnipeg today to Unifor's Canadian Council, an annual gathering that brings together more than 900 members from across the country.

Barlow stated, "Tommy Douglas had a dream. He believed with all his heart that it is the right of every Canadian, regardless of place of origin, income or age, to universal public health care. He knew that universal insurance coverage, as important as it is, was only part of the bigger picture and understood that without universal care for prescribed medicines, many Canadians would not have access to true health care. It is time to complete this dream."

She emphasized, "Pharmacare would give all Canadians access to needed drugs regardless of where they live. Pharmacare would help us control the high costs of drugs. Pharmacare would ensure drug safety by breaking the control these companies have over the approval process."

And Barlow cautioned, "Built into modern trade agreements such as NAFTA and CETA - the Canada -EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement - are protections for the intellectual property right of big corporations, including Big Pharma. The United Nations has warned that trade agreements restrict the right of governments to regulate drug prices and reduce the ability of governments to pursue policies that ensure public health. Under CETA, prescription drug prices will rise by over one and half billion dollars a year as we align our drug patents to the longer patent regimes of Europe."

She concluded, "All Canadians deserve equal access to safe and effective medically necessary drugs. It is time to finish writing the final chapter in Medicare’s history. We will do it together."

Her speech was very well received.

Among the tweets this afternoon:

  • Unifor Canada - While Canadians are scrambling for coverage, the cost of prescription drugs is skyrocketing. - @MaudeBarlow #UniforCC17 #Unifor #cdnhealth
  • Katha Fortier - @MaudeBarlow tells #UniforCC17 delegates how important #nationalpharmacare is for Canadians. Complete the dream of Tommy Douglas!
  • Unifor 199 - #uniforcc17 Big drug prices, means big profits, universal pharmacare would lower costs says Maude Barlow
  • Unifor 567 - @MaudeBarlow takes the stage at #uniforCC17 to talk about the urgent need for a natl pharmacare program. It's time!
  • Dwan Street - Hearing from the powerful, kickass Maude Barlow. So empowering. #UniforCC17

For more on The Council of Canadians pharmacare campaign, please click here.