Council of Canadians Chairperson Leo Broderick (pictured front right) will be one of 125 public health care advocates meeting with MPs next week on Parliament Hill to lobby for the creation of a national pharmacare plan.
The Council of Canadians works alongside the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC), unions and other groups to promote improvements to public health care. Together, we are calling for a national pharmacare program that will ensure everyone has access to the prescription medications they need without the barrier of cost.
As the CHC notes, “Canada remains the only country in the world with a universal health care system that doesn’t cover prescription medication. Our current system leaves 1 in 10 Canadians unable to fill their prescription because the cost is prohibitive. It leaves a patchwork system of coverage where medicine accessibility and affordability varies across the country. A National Public Drug Plan would solve these issues and others. It would ensure everyone can access the medicines they need while saving Canadians $11 billion a year.”
Drug prices are skyrocketing for Canadians and more people have to choose between getting the medications they need and paying for their rent or for food.
A pharmacare program would help keep people healthier and many would no longer have the economic burden of paying for medications out-of-pocket. Canadian employers would also benefit by not having to include expensive drug plans in employees’ benefit packages.
A recent Globe and Mail editorial noted that pharmacare’s time has come. “It’s the hole at the centre of medicare. Canada is the only developed country with a universal health-insurance plan that doesn’t include coverage for prescription drugs,” the editorial stated. “Canada also spends far more each year on prescription medicines than most developed countries, while paying some of the world’s highest prices. In 2017, individual Canadians, governments and private insurance plans spent an estimated $39.8-billion on drugs dispensed outside of a hospital.”
Public health care advocates will be delivering these messages and more to MPs as part of the national lobby days for pharmacare.
We hope MPs are ready to listen – and then act.
Read more about the Council of Canadians' campaign for pharmacare.