June 13th, 2023
Jagmeet Singh: We are setting our expectations for Pharmacare legislation
New Democrats table the Pharmacare Act, outlining the model they expect the government to meet for the public, universal system where no one has to pay for prescription drugs
OTTAWA— Today Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP health critic Don Davies outlined their expectations for the Pharmacare legislation the government must deliver as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with New Democrats.
Ultimately, Pharmacare will save Canadians on average $500 a year, and it will save our public health care system billions overall, recently estimated at $1,500 per patient per year. It will bring coverage for essential medication to millions of uninsured Canadians and save lives.
“For over 25 years now, Liberals have been promising Pharmacare, but Canadians are paying the third highest prices for medication in the world,” said Singh. “Our parents, grandparents and children are paying the price for this broken promise, while Big Pharma keeps making record profits. Instead of defending the interests of Big Pharma and the insurance industry, New Democrats are standing up for people. We’re using out power to force the Liberals to bring in Pharmacare legislation as a first step to delivering free prescription medicine for all Canadians.”
Liberals have delayed price reforms of patented medication four times; they reduced their initial reforms from an estimated savings for Canadians of $13 billion to $3 billion. Last November, after his department was lobbied 126 times by pharmaceutical companies, the Minister of Health intervened to suspend even this watered-down reform once again.
Justin Trudeau teamed up with Conservatives to defeat the NDP Canada Pharmacare Act last year, but Jagmeet and the NDP didn’t stop fighting. Now, New Democrats are using their power to force the Liberals to act.
“New Democrats have used our power to force the Liberals to do something they didn’t want to do – agree to pass legislation for universal Pharmacare by the end of the year,” said Davies. “Knowing the Liberals' history of caving in to Big Pharma and the insurance industry, we wanted to introduce our clear version of a Canada Pharmacare Act today, to be transparent with Canadians about our expectations. It is crucial that the legislation be clear that the system is universal, comprehensive and entirely public, so no one will have to pay out of pocket for their medication.
Only a single-payer Pharmacare system will achieve the savings, efficiencies and fairness that is the hallmark of Canadian Medicare. Anything less will be unacceptable to Canadians and the NDP," concluded Davies.