Support for pharmacare escalates in Canada


Support for National Pharmacare Grows Across Canada

TORONTO (June 7, 2016) – Support for a national pharmacare program intensified this week as major organizations across Canada, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Liberal Party of Canada and the BC Chamber of Commerce called for action from Ottawa.

This weekend, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) endorsed a motion to “call on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to develop and implement a National Pharmacare program.” The proposal was championed by FCM President Raymond Louie; Louie is also a five-term city councillor and the Acting Mayor of Vancouver.

“A national drug coverage program would improve the health of citizens as well as our local economies,” Louie said. “Also, municipal costs for employee benefits would be significantly reduced by a national pharmacare program, enabling us local governments to address timely issues like transit, housing, road repairs and clean water.”

FCM represents 90 per cent of Canada's municipal population and their endorsement for pharmacare is the third announcement from a large organization in a one-week period.

Earlier in the week, the BC Chamber of Commerce approved a motion by Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, recommending the provincial and federal governments work to create a universal pharmaceutical program that avoided offloading onto businesses as is practice in Quebec.

“Our fragmented system of drug coverage programs across the provinces reduces access to medicines, diminishes drug purchasing power, duplicates administrative costs, and isolates pharmaceutical management from the management of medical and hospital care,” Huberman said. “Furthermore, it is needlessly costing Canadian businesses billions of dollars every year.”

Adding to the momentum, Liberal Party of Canada delegates approved a motion on May 27 at their biennial convention in Winnipeg to support a “national-universal PharmaCare program as one of its policy priorities” and “implement a national PharmaCare plan in place within its first mandate.” 

According to Dr. Monika Dutt, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the current system negatively affects the health and finances of Canadians.

In a presentation to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health (HESA), Dr. Dutt noted that one in four Canadians are unable to pay for prescription drugs. She cited several studies to demonstrate this lack of access is stressing the public purse since untreated conditions lead to increased healthcare provider visits and hospitalizations.

“Studies show that 6.5% of hospital admissions are the result of nonadherence to medications, which in turn costs Canadians billions each year,” Dutt said. “Support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as well as the BC Chamber of Commerce clearly indicates they understand the benefits of pharmacare to their communities and businesses and we hope the federal government will follow suit.”

Canadian Doctors for Medicare 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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For more information, please contact:

Mary-Margaret Jones | Communications and Outreach | Canadian Doctors for Medicare

416.351.3300 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.