NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, July 25, 2013 /CNW/ - With the current Canada
Health Accord set to expire in 2014, the Canadian Federation of Nurses
Unions (CFNU) President Linda Silas is urging premiers to work with the
federal government to create a universal Pharmacare program.
At the Council of the Federation meeting in 2004, premiers committed to
the creation of a national Pharmacare plan. There has been no action to
create a plan since. Silas urges us to recall that "…each year, we
lose billions by not moving forward with this long-promised program,
and more importantly, millions of Canadians go without adequate access
to medically required medications."
"As Ottawa continues unloading costs to the provinces, stretching their
budgets, expanding cooperation on cost-effective measures like
bulk-purchasing of drugs makes for good fiscal and public policy," said
According to researchers Dr. Marc-André Gagnon and Dr. Steve Morgan,
Canada is the only OECD country with universal public health care that
does not also have a Pharmacare plan.
Dr. Morgan highlighted the fact that "…every developed country with a
universal health care system, except Canada, provides universal
coverage of drugs, and all such countries provide universal coverage of
prescription drugs at less cost than Canada spends today!"
Dr. Gagnon stated that when it comes to prescription drugs, Canada's
current system is plagued by "massive waste, excessive costs, and
leaves too many people unable to afford their medicine."
He further noted that a universal Pharmacare program is not a panacea
but it can help to build the institutional capacity to improve access,
diminish costs, improve practices and ensure sustainability. Gagnon's
forthcoming report provides a roadmap toward a rational Pharmacare
policy in Canada, in which he acknowledges that the recent adoption of
bulk purchasing agreements is a positive first step in controlling
costs, but more needs to be done, including improving equitable access
for all Canadians by establishing a national formulary, which will also
help to enhance the safety and security of medications.
Silas urged the Premiers to build on their success from last year's
Council of the Federation and press the federal government for a
Pharmacare program. Even the Canadian Life and Health Insurance
Association has endorsed the need for a more rational approach to drug
coverage. "Now is the time for all our political leaders to be bold
and take the necessary steps that will provide Canadians with access to
drugs based on their medical needs not on where they live or work."
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
For further information:
Anil Naidoo: 613-996-5409