Unions encouraged to see pharmacare on Parliament’s agenda today

October 5, 2017

Canada’s unions will be watching the House of Commons today as MPs discuss an NDP motion calling for a universal pharmacare plan for Canada.

“We are pleased that the NDP under its new leader Jagmeet Singh is continuing to make pharmacare such a priority, and we hope all political parties respond by making this much needed program a reality as soon as possible,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff.

Last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer issued a report using the Quebec government’s public prescription drug plan formulary to estimate universal pharmacare would yield annual savings of $4.2 billion.

A second report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Canadian Doctors for Medicare used a more efficient model to estimate net annual savings of $11 billion.

Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal health care program that doesn’t include a universal prescription drug plan. Instead, our multiple-payer system has resulted in the second highest prescription drug costs in the world next to the United States. That’s left 3.5 million Canadians unable to afford their prescriptions.

This Labour Day, on the heels of a successful bid to expand the Canada Pension Plan, Canada’s unions launched a campaign calling for a national pharmacare plan.

“We are proud that we’ve won health insurance coverage for many of our members, but we believe all Canadians should have prescription drug coverage, regardless of their income, age or where they work or live,” said Yussuff.