Surrey Board of Trade to Speak to Advisory Council on Implementing National Pharmacare

The Surrey Board of Trade is invited to speak to the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare on August 15th.

“The Surrey Board of Trade looks forward to providing our business perspective on the need for an immediate implementation of national pharmacare in Canada,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“The Surrey Board of Trade was very pleased with the 18 recommendations issued in today’s report. This is a step in the right direction. The only concern is that further consultation is being asked, which could delay what we are asking for – and that is a universal pharmacare program in Canada. I believe we have waited long enough. Let’s get it done,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“The Surrey Board of Trade was referenced many times within the report (Page 56 and 80 notably) – and was the only business organization that took a leadership role in Canada on this very important issue.”

In Budget 2018, the Federal Government announced the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. The Council will assess options and provide independent advice to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance on how best to implement national pharmacare in a manner that is affordable for Canadians, employers and governments.

The objectives of the roundtable are to:
a) Provide an opportunity for the Council to hear and understand the wide range of stakeholder perspectives
b) Facilitate a collaborative discussion with stakeholders on this challenging issue
c) Create a space where new ideas concerning the implementation of National Pharmacare can be brought forward.

The Standing Health Committee believes that the best way to move forward in establishing a universal single payer public prescription drug coverage program is by expanding the Canada Health Act to include prescription drugs dispensed outside of hospitals as an insured service under the Act. The potential is to reduce total annual prescription pharmaceutical expenditures by $4.2 billion, based upon prudent estimates. Such an approach would also ensure that all Canadians have equitable and affordable access to life saving prescription drugs. In short, it will save money and lives.

“There are strains on all businesses. Costs are high and uncontrolled for those who do offer drug coverage. Costs are an impediment for some companies to offer any coverage.”

Employers could use the savings that they obtain from the creation of a national pharmacare program to enhance their coverage of other services, such as mental health, vision care, dental care, hearing care, and physiotherapy. The coverage offered by the public program would have to be comprehensive, as limited prescription drug coverage programs such as British Columbia’s Catastrophic Drug Coverage program, continue to pose burdens on employers by not meeting employee health needs.

“The Surrey Board of Trade has taken this position because our members have expressed serious concerns about high, uncontrolled costs private drug plans. This is a burden on companies that do offer drug coverage to their employees and can be an impediment for some companies to offer any coverage at all.”