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February 24th, 2020

Canadians Need Pharmacare Now

NDP Tables Canada Pharmacare Actto Cover Medication for All

OTTAWA – On Monday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh presented the NDP’s Canada Pharmacare Actto give universal pharmacare coverage to all Canadians. The NDP bill is based on the principles of the Canada Health Act and follows recommendations of the government’s own Hoskins’ report.

“The Liberals have been promising pharmacare for 23 years – but Canadians are still facing sky-high prescription costs that make it harder to make ends meet,” said Singh. “This legislation is a first step to making the implementation of pharmacare a reality. Canadians need pharmacare now. If the Liberals actually want to help Canadian families, they can work with us and we can deliver the universal pharmacare plan people need.”

One in every five Canadians isn’t taking the medicine they need because they can’t afford to pay for it. And while Justin Trudeau criticized Stephen Harper’s health care cuts to provinces – he then kept the cuts to the planned funding. It’s no wonder the provinces don’t trust that the federal Liberals will keep any commitment on pharmacare.

“The Liberals say the right things when it comes to pharmacare, but when it comes time to act, the Liberals put the profits of big pharmaceutical and insurance companies ahead of what Canadian families need,” said Singh. “We are leading the way on pharmacare by laying out a plan to deliver universal, comprehensive pharmacare to all Canadians.”

Once implemented, the NDP’s pharmacare plan would be free for Canadians, make emergency wait times shorter, free-up more hospital beds for those who need them, and save Canadians more than $4.2 billion. It will also save families more than $500 a year on average, whether they have insurance or not, and save employers $600 a year per insured worker.

Key Facts on the NDP’s Canada Pharmacare Act:

  • The Canada Pharmacare Act is based on the recommendations of the Hoskins Advisory Council (along with other expert reports) and modelled on the Canada Health Act(CHA).
  • Like the CHA, the Canada Pharmacare Act specifies the conditions that provincial and territorial prescription drug insurance programs must meet to receive federal funding. This includes tying federal funding to the core principles of public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, and accessibility.
  • Like the CHA, the Canada Pharmacare Act doesn’t prescribe a specific fiscal arrangement between provincial, territorial and federal governments. Rather, it lets the federal government negotiate with the provinces and territories.
  • Like the CHA, the Canada Pharmacare Act gives power to the Governor-in-Council to reduce or withhold contributions to provinces if they don’t respect the conditions of funding.
  • The Canada Pharmacare Act also asks the Minister to establish, in collaboration with provinces, an independent drug agency.

Key Facts on the Hoskins Report:

  • Recommends that the federal government enshrine the principles and national standards of pharmacare in federal legislation, separate and distinct from the Canada Health Act.
  • Recommends that the five fundamental principles of Medicare, embodied in the Canada Health Act, also be enshrined in federal pharmacare legislation: universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability, and public administration.
  • Proposes that this legislation come into force no later than January 1, 2022.