February 6th, 2019

Canadians shouldn’t have to rack up credit card debt to get the medicine their family needs

BURNABY – On Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh outlined his party’s plan to provide medication coverage for all Canadians by announcing the NDP would implement a universal, public, comprehensive pharmacare system across Canada. While the Liberal government’s leaked plan on prescription drugs was welcomed news for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, many have pointed out it will leave millions of Canadians unable to afford the medication they need.

“Too many Canadians skip the medicine they need, end up in the ER, or cut their pills in half because they can’t afford the cost of their medication. Mr. Trudeau’s government is putting the profits of drug and insurance companies ahead of Canadians,” said Singh. “Canadians should not have to empty their wallets or rack up credit card debt just to get the medicine their family needs.”

Canada is the only industrialized country with a public healthcare system that does not include coverage for prescription drugs. Singh’s medication-coverage-for-all plan would include the costs of prescription drugs into Canada’s existing healthcare system and would utilize the negotiating power of 37 million Canadians to lower the overall costs of drugs. Meanwhile, the Trudeau government plan was leaked to media last week revealing the Liberals are unwilling to go beyond a ‘limited’ and ‘industry-friendly model of pharmacare’.

Mr. Trudeau continues to side with the richest corporations instead of doing what’s right for everyday Canadians struggling with the high costs of housing and expensive medication,” added Singh. “Instead of giving billions of public dollars in tax breaks and giveaways to the most profitable corporations, I would make different choices. I would implement a universal, public, comprehensive pharmacare system that covers the cost of medication for every Canadian.”

"My husband is a heavy equipment operator and I work seasonally. Like any parent, our kids come first. We can't afford my husband's heart medication, so we're rolling the dice,” said Marilyn Sheehan. "Canadians need universal, public pharmacare. Our income shouldn't dictate our access to medicine."
"I have idiopathic anaphylaxis and need epi-pens. I'm required to carry two at all times, but they cost $120 per pen,” said Cole Sheehan-Klassen. “Some weeks, after I've had a reaction, I have to cancel plans, like not being able to go on school trips, because we can't afford to carry a second epi-pen."
"I have type one Diabetes and need to take insulin in order to survive. I've paid upwards of $70,000 in out of pocket expenses for the basics that I need to live,” said Rowan Burdge. “To know that I will always be in debt or fighting debt just to be alive is exhausting and stressful. It's frightening. Canadians like me, with diabetes, and other expensive chronic illnesses, need universal, public pharmacare to survive."