Health experts urge federal leaders to commit to national pharmacare

Open letter signed by more than 1,200 experts in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, economics, and law

Eric Hoskins, chair of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

More than 1,200 Canadian health care and public policy experts have signed an open letter to federal party leaders, calling on each of them to commit to implementing a national pharmacare system.

They say comprehensive public medication programs have improved access and reduced costs everywhere they’ve been implemented and want to keep national pharmacare from becoming a partisan issue.

The group of experts from across the country includes professors of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, economics, political science and law — many of them recognized as leaders in their fields.

They note that, since the 1960s, five separate national commissions have concluded that universal pharmacare would be the fairest and most affordable way to ensure universal access to necessary medicines in Canada.

Steve Morgan of the University of BC says he believes an actual program has not yet materialized in part because industry stakeholders who stand to lose billions in revenue have waged a concerted lobby over the years to prevent it from happening.

“Part of the reason for having so many experts in an academic environment sign a letter of this nature is to remind Canadians that Canadian experts who are independent of stakeholders that might benefit from the status quo are consistently on side with moving forward,” Morgan said.

RELATED: Expert panel recommends Canada implement single-payer pharmacare plan

“(We are) trying to send a signal that if a government moves forward with this recommendation, experts will support them.”

The letter urges all parties to put a plan to implement a national drug program in their campaign platforms and to follow through with those plans. It says the issue has been studied at length, and calls for immediate action, beginning in 2020.

They are endorsing the model proposed by an expert panel, led by former Ontario health minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, that recently studied the issue and delivered recommendations to the Trudeau government for a phased-in rollout of a national drug plan.

Such a plan would result in savings of an approximately $5 billion annually, an average of $350 a year for each family, the panel concluded.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe B.C. over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Robert Vroom, died as result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Heavy police presence at Maple Ridge traffic accident

Multiple police seen running into house

UPDATE: Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak over at Maple Ridge seniors residence

All remaining residents and staff have been cleared of the virus at Chartwell’s Willow Retirement Residence

Anonymous donor gives $10,000 to ARMS in Maple Ridge

The Alouette River Management Society has 10,000 chances to win the Great Canadian Giving Challenge

Thousands raised for food bank by caring individuals in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

One family raised $1,100 by making angel keychains and another raised $3,200 by making face masks

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read