Social Justice and Democracy

Government must not break their promise and leave Canadians paying sky-high drug costs

April 14, 2022

Canada’s unions are troubled about the government’s decision late today, to reverse course on changes to patented drug regulations, potentially forcing Canadian families to pay billions more for needed medicines.

“We are calling on the government: don’t break your promise to Canadians. We can’t count on big pharmaceutical corporations to stand up for Canadians, that’s the job of our governments,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare made clear that strengthening the Patented Medicines Regulations is absolutely essential to lowering drug prices and moving towards national pharmacare.

“Too many medicines are unaffordable and the new PMPRB framework could have saved Canadians approximately $13.2 billion over 10 years. This is a step backwards for affordable drugs,” said Bruske. “The failure of Budget 2022 to make substantial progress on pharmacare and today’s capitulation to big pharma, means workers and their families have reason to be concerned about the government’s commitment to making medicine affordable and accessible.”

Canada’s unions will be pushing the government to move forward with urgent investments to begin implementing a national pharmacare program, starting with a national essential medicines formulary and expanding to a full national, universal, single-payer pharmacare system.

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