Economic Imperative for Canadian Government to Implement Universal Public Pharmacare

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions, civil society groups, business (Surrey Board of Trade) and academics wrote to the Prime Minister on December 7 urging the government to use the upcoming Economic and Fiscal Update to take the next step forwards on implementing universal public pharmacare.

The letter outlined how the government is falling behind the recommendations of their own Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.

Despite the government’s repeated commitment to be guided by the Advisory Council’s recommendations, 2021 is shaping up to be another year where little to no progress has been made towards making medicines accessible to all Canadians.

Canada is the only country with universal public health care that hasn’t implemented national drug coverage. With bold leadership from the federal government, as we have seen on child care, we can make pharmacare happen in 2022.

The Advisory Council had called for the government to invest $3.5 billion for coverage of the most common medicines by January 1, 2022 as the first step in implementing universal public pharmacare. A full universal pharmacare plan would lead to $5 billion a year in savings on prescription drug spending each year.