Canada needs universal, public pharmacare now

3.6 million Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions. Our friends and neighbours are forced to choose between groceries and medicine.

Canada remains the only developed country with a universal public health insurance system that does not include universal coverage for prescription drugs.

We have joined 150 organizations across Canada calling on the new federal government to immediately implement universal, public pharmacare.

Read the Pharmacare Now statement 

National pharmacare should be a seamless extension of the existing universal health care system in Canada, which covers medically necessary physician and hospital services, and operates in harmony with the principles of the Canada Health Act.

We cannot continue with this dysfunctional patchwork system for drug coverage that is unfair, inefficient and expensive. We have more than 100 public drug plans and 113,000 private plans across the country. And we are paying the third highest drug prices in the world.

This situation is a violation of the principles and values at the heart of our universal public health care system and it is economically unsustainable.

A universal public pharmacare program will provide equal access and coverage to all Canadians.

It will save billions of dollars because governments will combine their bulk-buying power to negotiate lower drug prices and volume discounts with drug companies.
Canadians are proud of our universal public health care system, which is based on need and not ability to pay. It is time to build on this proud legacy and take the next bold step of implementing a universal public pharmacare program.

That is why we have joined with health care providers, non-profit organizations, unions, workers, seniors, patients and academics from across the country to urge all parties to work together to implement pharmacare before the next election.