On December 4, 2023, CCU President Gregory Ball wrote a letter on the importance of Pharmacare for All to the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health and the leaders of all four major parties in Canada.
This week, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May wrote back a very thoughtful and informative response. Read the message below:
Thank you for your letter about pharmacare. I want to sincerely apologise for my very delayed response… I have been a strong supporter of a national pharmacare program for years, with the Green Party being the only party in 2015 to address pharmacare in its platform.
Canadians deserve affordable medication. I have been pressing the Liberal government to move to implement the Hoskins Report and to examine innovative programs to bring down the out-of pocket costs for prescription drugs for Canadians: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/corporate/about-health-canada/public-engagement/external-advisory-bodies/implementation-national-pharmacare/final-report.html. The cost-of-living crisis has re-emphasised that a solution to this issue is critical.
Health Canada is far too cozy with Big Pharma. We must eliminate conflict of interest in drug regulations and undue corporate control over decisions of drug safety are eliminated. If not for the lobbying pressure of Big Pharma, Canadians would have had pharmacare long ago. For years, I have called for the elimination of conflict of interest by relying on the approach taken by the therapeutics initiative at UBC. The government should create a process for bulk purchases of medication.
I echo recommendations from the Canadian Pharmacists’ Association to provide at least $200 million over two years for a federal program to support employers providing experience and training to internationally trained health care workers, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The only way we move forward in solving the health care crisis in this country is by paying and training our health care staff sufficiently.
I have called for expanding health care access and services across the country. One solution is to implement a comprehensive process to regulate the distribution of pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors. This would track and prevent dangerous levels of over-medication and prevent opioid addiction. Ensuring safe consumption and diagnosis is crucial to comprehensive national health care.
Thank you for your letter. I will continue to advocate for equitable healthcare coverage for all Canadians. It is an honour to serve in Canada’s Parliament.
Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament
Saanich – Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada