"Pharmacare is a priority for Canadians. This federal government must honour its promises and use the upcoming budget to invest in implementing Pharmacare. NUPGE is proud to stand with all of our allies who join us in calling for action." – Larry Brown, President
Ottawa (26 February 2020) – The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) joined over 150 national and provincial organizations in signing a letter calling for Minister Bill Morneau to use the upcoming budget to invest in implementing pharmacare. The investment is needed to move forward on the recommendations laid out by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare and to fulfill the promises made by 3 of the 4 federal political parties in the last election. This includes the Liberal party which now leads a minority government.
NDP moves legislation challenging government to act
This week, the NDP introduced legislation to bring in universal, public, single-payer pharmacare and the bill is based on the recommendations of the advisory council. The NDP further committed to ensure the principles of the Canada Health Act are embedded in pharmacare, a move that NUPGE strongly supports.
Morneau must renounce 'Fill in the gaps' clearly
The advisory council clearly rejected a 'fill in the gaps' strategy favoured by the large insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and previously supported by Minister Morneau. 'Fill in the gaps' does not make fiscal sense. It keeps our fragmented, inefficient system without the economies of scale and negotiating power needed to lower prices. Minister Morneau must reject 'fill in the gaps' as a strategy that has been proven false by the analysis and recommendations of his own government's advisory council. Only the Conservative Party supported this approach and they lost the election.
Canada is currently an 'outlier' by not having pharmacare
The path to pharmacare as outlined by the advisory council is not revolutionary. Canada is paying a big price by being the only country with universal health care that does not include universal pharmacare. Canada can not afford to continue to subsidize an inefficient patchwork system that does not cover everyone and where insurance and pharmaceutical companies continue to make massive profits at the expense of patients. Only the US and Switzerland pay more for prescription drugs than Canada.
The election is over, it is time for action
This election was historic, with the vast majority of Canadians voting for parties which promised national pharmacare. Now is the time to act and to honour the promises made to Canadians. The evidence is clear, Canada needs pharmacare. Our elected representatives, at the federal and provincial level need to respect the voters and work together to ensure Canadians have access to the medicines.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE