Greens commit to implementation of universal pharmacare

September 19, 2019

Canadian Doctors for Medicare is encouraged by the principles embraced in the Green Party’s statement on health care and the social contract, including the party’s commitment to the implementation of a universal public pharmacare program and its support for additional innovations in the efficient delivery of public health services.

The Green Party’s pledge is based on the principles of the Canada Health Act, which states that federally funded-health care systems across Canada must be publicly administered, accessible, comprehensive, universal, and portable across provinces and territories. Building on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, the Green Party recognizes universal pharmacare as the model most in keeping with these principles, as well as “the best way to accomplish both life-saving and cost-cutting goals.”

“The Green Party’s support for universal pharmacare is in keeping with the principles and priorities for which we have consistently advocated,” said CDM Chair Dr. Danyaal Raza. “Canadians have made it clear that health care will be a top priority in this election, and they strongly support the implementation of national pharmacare. Consistently, the academic and economic literature alike has shown that the universal public model is the most fair and affordable way to achieve that vision.”

The Green Party’s statement follows a similar pledge from the New Democratic Party, which announced its plan for pharmacare at a media event in British Columbia on Monday, 1 April 2019. The NDP plan includes a commitment of $10 billion in federal funding to be pooled with the current $13.7 billion in provincial spending. Citing figures from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the NDP projects a savings of $4.2 billion per year over current drug spending in Canada.

The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, which was announced by the previous Liberal Government as part of the 2018 budget, delivered a clear and decisive call for universal public pharmacare in its final report to the Ministers of Health and Finance in June of this year. The 2019 budget pledged $35 million over four years for the creation of the Canadian Drug Agency, as well as up to $1 billion over two years to help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need. The Liberal Party has not yet released its position on the implementation of national pharmacare.

During the first leaders debate of the campaign, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer claimed that a universal pharmacare program would be too expensive, favouring a “fill the gaps” model. The Advisory Council’s final report notes that 20 per cent of Canadians have insufficient prescription drug coverage, and states that a “fill the gaps” approach would do little to lower drug prices or create more equitable access to prescription medications.

Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. CDM advocates for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.


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Matt Blair
Communications and Outreach Officer
Canadian Doctors for Medicare
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