Premiers agree to set up bulk-buy drug program

Health and finance ministers instructed to design national plan following summer meetings by first ministers in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg (10 Aug. 2010) - Canada's premiers and territorial leaders have pledged to establish a Canadian-wide purchasing alliance to buy prescription drugs, medical supplies and equipment.

At the close of their annual summer meeting of the Council of the Federation in Winnipeg, the host premier, Greg Selinger of Manitoba, said the provinces must continue to find innovative ways to offer health care services to Canadians in the "most cost-effective fashion possible."

Selinger said the first ministers have directed their health and finance ministers to put the plan together.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the plan will give the provinces more leverage with the federal government to get more money for health care.

"If we can work together to reduce the cost of our drugs, that frees up more money for us to spend inside the health care system in a way that directly affects patient care," he said.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest told reporters he believes all parties are acting in good faith to reach an agreement to replace the federal health care funding accord, which is set to expire in 2014.

"The increased cost of health care is relevant to the fact that the population is growing older and the costs we have in Canada reflect what exists everywhere else in the world, and so I expect us to make decisions that reflect what the real needs of Canadians are," he said.

"It will be tough, no doubt about that, but we expect we'll arrive at the right results in a spirit of partnership with the federal government."


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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

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