Canada’s nurses applaud NDP’s spot-on pharmacare announcement

Note: The federal NDP released their support for universal pharmacare in April, 2019. Below is the public response from Canada’s nurses to the announcement.

April 1, 2019 (OTTAWA, ON) – Canada’s nurses applaud the federal NDP for announcing their support for a universal model of national pharmacare today. While the federal government has been considering the issue over the past year, today’s announcement makes Jagmeet Singh the first federal party leader to present a concrete proposal for pharmacare in advance of this fall’s federal election.

“We applaud Jagmeet Singh for his leadership in making a clear commitment to create the universal pharmacare program Canada so desperately needs,” said Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU). “Today, the federal NDP is putting forward a pragmatic plan that will save lives and save money.”

A universal pharmacare program as proposed by the NDP would eliminate the estimated waste of nearly $14,000 health care dollars per minute resulting from the current inefficient system of about 100,000 private drug plans and 100 public plans. It would also save the lives of hundreds to thousands of Canadians each year, and help millions who currently struggle to afford prescription medications.

“As our population ages, Canada cannot afford to miss a big opportunity like this to make our health care system better and more sustainable over the long-term,” said Silas. “Patchy coverage for millions of Canadians means they don’t get the medicines they need when they need them, their health conditions deteriorate and they are forced to return to the hospital.”

The NDP proposal aligns with five key principles for national pharmacare supported by nurses for decades and endorsed by over 80 national and provincial organizations: universality, public and single-payer administration, accessibility, comprehensiveness, and portable coverage.

“We are pleased to see the NDP propose a pharmacare program supported by the best available evidence and by the majority of Canadians,” said Silas. “Mr. Singh and the NDP have shown they are listening to Canadians, not big pharma and insurance who have been lobbying hard to stop pharmacare and protect their profits.”

The CFNU recently released an expert-written report titled The Big Money Club which reveals the profit-motivated campaign by billionaires and wealthy corporations to stop pharmacare in Canada.

“In the end, Canadians are suffering and paying much more for the current system than we would for the universal pharmacare program proposed by the NDP today,” said Silas. “It’s that simple.”

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The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

For more information, please contact:
Lauren Snowball, CFNU Communications Officer, 613-868-5702, lsnowball@nursesunions.ca

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