Canada needs universal, public pharmacare now more than ever. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 20% of Canadian households were struggling to pay for their medication. The mass layoffs triggered by the pandemic have now left millions more people without work-based drug plans.
Last fall, over 175 national and provincial/territorial organizations signed a joint statement calling on the federal government to implement a universal, public pharmacare program based on the report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare led by Dr. Eric Hoskins. Given the current crisis, the government must speed up the implementation of the Council’s recommendations.
As an emergency first step towards universal pharmacare, we’re calling on the federal government to immediately implement phase 1 of the Council’s report by providing public coverage for essential medicines for everyone in Canada. The government must also commit to implementing phase 2 by adopting a full, comprehensive public pharmacare program within its current mandate.
Canadians are counting on the government to help them get through this crisis. Pharmacare must be part of the government’s COVID-related supports. This urgently needed program will help keep people healthy and out of the hospital, and will help ease the financial burden on households. Universal, public pharmacare will save money and lives.
Canada needs pharmacare now!
The statement has already been endorsed by 185 organizations including: The Council of Canadians, Canadian Health Coalition, CUPE, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, NUPGE, United Steelworkers, Congress of Union Retirees of Canada, CARP, Broadbent Institute and Surrey Board of Trade. Add your organization and see the full list here.