Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh feels positive about today’s announcement on pharmacare from the interim report released today by the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare (ACINP). The report recommended the creation of a national drug agency, a comprehensive, evidence-based formulary, and outlined six core principles for national pharmacare.
“As the Federal Government mulls over the recommendations it received today, we will continue to push for a universal system to ensure that every Canadian can access the medications they need when they need them. Unions in Canada have been front and center asking the federal government to create a universal prescription drug plan that provides coverage for all residents regardless of their income, age, or where they live”, says Cavanagh
That’s why we have been pushing our MPs to support the following principles in a universal prescription drug plan: A plan that features:
- Universality: All Canadians must be entitled to the same level of pharmacare.
- Accessibility: All Canadians must have reasonable access to the prescription medicines they need, regardless of their income, age or where they live. The plan must provide first-dollar coverage, eliminating out-of-pocket payments such as co-payments and deductibles.
- Comprehensiveness: A pharmacare plan must have a comprehensive national formulary or list of medicines that ensures superior drug choice, safe and effective prescription drug use and the best value for money. The formulary should be evidence-based for best health outcomes and should be evaluated on an ongoing basis by an arms-length, publicly accountable, non-partisan oversight body.
- Public administration: Canada’s pharmacare plan must be publicly administered.
- Portability: The plan must follow Canadians no matter which province or territory they move to or live in.
A universal pharmacare plan must be a single system of public insurance coverage for prescription drugs, commonly referred to as a single-payer program.
This replaces the existing patchwork prescription drug system consisting of several payers from individuals paying out of their own pockets, to more than 100 public government plans and about 113,000 private insurance plans.
We must move away from the expensive patchwork prescription drug system we have today that leaves millions of Canadians falling through the cracks. Our existing patchwork, multiple-payer prescription drug system is not fair or equitable. Canadians are paying higher drug costs and different dispensing fees and prices for the same medications.
“Unions are standing up for millions of workers and their families who do not have employer-funded medical benefits. That includes 6.6 million employed Canadians and many of Canada’s 2.8 million self-employed workers.
Too many Canadians are falling through the cracks with only 27 percent of part-time workers and 73 percent of full-time workers have employer-funded prescription drug coverage,” says Cavanagh.