As a follow up to the letter written by CCU President Gregory Ball to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others on Pharmacare for All, the Council of Canadians released an online petition directed at federal Minister for Health, Mark Holland, to support strong legislation.
As it states: “We are at a pivotal moment in the fight for pharmacare.The Trudeau government is about to unveil its draft legislation for a national drug plan. But over the past months, Big Pharma and the insurance lobby have stepped up their efforts for a watered-down program that doesn’t lower drug prices and excludes the vast majority of Canadians. We need to let the new Health Minister Mark Holland know that we want pharmacare, and we want it done right: public, universal, comprehensive.”
The online petition continues:
I was glad to hear that your government intends to introduce pharmacare legislation this fall and hopes to pass a Canada Pharmacare Act before the end of the year. It is important that the new legislation establishes a pharmacare program that is universal, comprehensive and public.
Universal, comprehensive pharmacare will make all medicines available to all people in Canada without exception. With over 3.4 million people who can’t afford to take their medication as prescribed, we can’t leave anyone out. The rising cost of living has only made this problem worse.
Pharmacare must be public and single-payer, consolidating Canada’s purchasing power vis-à-vis global pharmaceutical companies and lowering prices. Relative to countries with public pharmacare, Canadian prices are over 50 percent higher for top-selling brand name drugs, and 61 percent higher for primary care drugs used to treat common illnesses. It’s estimated that a truly public pharmacare would save Canadians at least $5 billion per year by lowering drug costs.
This was the recommendation of your government’s own expert panel, the Advisory Council on Implementing National Pharmacare, led by Dr. Eric Hoskins. A poll as recent as January 2023 found that 87 percent of Canadians say they want such pharmacare to become law.
We know that pharmaceutical companies are pushing for a ‘fill-in-the-gaps’ program that would not reduce drug prices or cover everyone the way we need. Don’t bow to industry pressure. I need you to ensure the Canada Pharmacare Act needs creates a system that is truly public, universal and comprehensive.