Albertans need pharmacare

Last April, the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare released their final report, recommending that the federal government create a universal, single-payer, national drug plan. Public health care advocates and academics across Canada were pleased to see that the recommendations supported a model of pharmacare that is publicly administered, comprehensive, portable, universal and accessible to all Canadians. For decades, we and our allies across the country have been advocating for a pharmacare program that would address the major barriers to accessing medications that currently exists due to our complex patchwork of public and private drug programs. The Council's report was a major step towards finally completing what has been called the "unfinished business of medicare," in recommending that prescription drugs be included under our publicly funded health care system.

However, our work is far from over. In December, Canada's premiers met in Toronto, where they once again reiterated the desire that provinces retain the right to opt out unconditionally from a national pharmacare program. Jason Kenney indicated that he would opt out, suggesting that Albertans already have adequate pharmaceutical access - despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Now, more than ever, we must pressure the Alberta government to support a universal, public drug plan for ALL Canadians. Opinion polling has shown that nine in ten Albertans support national pharmacare — we need to make sure that our government hears this loud and clear.

Send an email to your MLA, Premier Jason Kenney, and Health Minister Tyler Shandro to let them know why it is important to you that they support national, universal pharmacare.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro
Phone: 780 427-3665
Office of the Minister of Health
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5K 2B6
Premier Jason Kenney
Phone: 780 427-2251
Office of the Premier
307 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2B6


Copy and paste the letter below to use as your template, or share your story about how Alberta's patchwork of drug plans has impacted you and your family!

Want more information on how a national, universal pharmacare program would benefit Albertans? Learn the facts!

To Premier Jason Kenney & Health Minister Tyler Shandro
cc [Your MLA]

In April, the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare released their final report, recommending that the federal government create a universal, single-payer national drug plan. This pharmacare program would mark the first major expansion of our health care since the inception of Medicare over 5 decades ago, and is something that Canadians have been waiting for ever since. Canada is the only country in the world with a universal health system that does not cover prescription drugs. Instead, Canada has a dysfunctional patchwork system for drug coverage that is unfair, inefficient and expensive.

Here are the facts:

•   3.6 million Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions.

•   One in five Albertan households experience financial barriers to accessing their medications.

•   One-third of working Albertans have no drug benefits.

•   There are more than 100 public drug plans and 113,000 private plans across Canada.

•   Canadians pay the third highest drug prices in the world.

This situation is a violation of the principles and values at the heart of our universal public health care system. A universal single-payer plan would ensure access to medications for every Canadian, and would help to keep our drug prices affordable and sustainable. National pharmacare would save the lives of countless Canadians a year and billions of dollars in savings for employers, employees and households.

Albertans know that a national, universal pharmacare system is the right move - opinion polling has shown that over 90% of Albertans support a national prescription drug plan. But, getting there requires leadership from the provincial and territorial governments.

I urge you to support the call of hundreds of thousands of Albertans and support a pharmacare program that follows the principles of the Canada Health Act: one which is publicly funded and administered, universal, comprehensive, accessible and portable.

Canadians are proud of our universal public health care system, which is based on need and not ability to pay. It is time to build on this proud legacy and take the next bold step of implementing a universal public pharmacare program.

Thank you for your support on behalf of all Albertans.

Signed, [Your Name Here]