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Health care professionals call on federal leaders to commit to national drug coverage


TORONTO, JUNE 18, 2015 - Health care professionals unveiled a new campaign today calling on all federal party leaders to include the creation of a national pharmacare plan in their election platforms. The Campaign for National Drug Coverage joins the growing chorus of voices across Canada that are calling for a public, safe, and affordable pharmacare strategy.

“Doctors and health care professionals across the country are advocating for national drug coverage because we see firsthand the consequences that gaps in drug coverage have for our patients’ health. Nearly 8 million people in Canada are without drug coverage meaning that they are continually faced with the choice of paying out of pocket for costly medications or skipping their treatment,” said Canadian Doctors for Medicare spokesperson, Dr. Danyaal Raza.“With the fall federal election fast approaching we’re working with the Campaign for National Drug Coverage to tell federal party leaders that doctors want to stop relying on the sample drawer to provide medications for our patients. It’s time for a national drug coverage plan to ensure everyone in Canada has access to the medicines we need to be healthy.”

The Campaign for National Drug Coverage website (www.campaign4nationaldrugcoverage.ca) provides an overview of the costs of Canada’s current reliance on a patchwork of inefficient and costly insurance programs, and includes a list of actions voters can take to call for change. Organizations are invited to sign on to show federal parties their support for action.

“We must make 2015 a turning point in the long-standing call for universal prescription drug coverage in Canada,” said Scott Wolfe, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Community Health Centres (CACHC). “Canadians now pay some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, and over 3 million Canadians are unable to afford their medicines. New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this March concluded that not only would national drug coverage improve access, it is highly affordable and would actually save Canadians over $7 billion a year.”

“As a nurse working in a Community Health Centre we spend far too much time and too many resources each week trying to support people who can’t afford their medications. A national drug coverage plan would ensure safe and appropriate use of prescription drugs. Check out the Campaign for National Drug Coverage website and send a message to our politicians now,” said Lorraine Telford, LAMP Community Health Centre.

The Campaign for National Drug Coverage is organized by health care professionals, researchers, and advocates across Canada. To date, supporters of the campaign include the Association of Ontario Health Clinics, Canadian Association of Community Health Centres, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, Canadian Federation of Nurses Union, Canadian Union of Public Employees, National Union of Public and General Employees, Pharmacare 2020, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and Unifor

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For more information:

Katie Raso, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
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Tel. 647-705-2192