EDMONTON — Yesterday, it was announced that the tabling of a National Pharmacare bill in the House of Commons will be delayed into the new year. This extends the timeline that was laid out in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the NDP and the governing Liberals, which stipulated that legislation should be tabled and passed by the end of 2023.
"The Liberals have promised us universal, single-payer Pharmacare in the last three federal elections. They have been in power for over eight years, and their government even developed a comprehensive road map to get Pharmacare done back in 2019,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Yet here we are again. Canadians are being told they’ll have to wait even longer for action. Enough with delays and stalling, it’s time for the federal government to finally deliver on universal drug coverage for all.”
The governing Liberals first promised us Pharmacare in their 2015 election campaign. Once elected, they struck the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, chaired by Dr. Eric Hoskins. Following nation-wide consultation, the Council’s 2019 final report unequivocally recommended a universal, single-payer program, and provided the blueprint for getting there. Unfortunately, following much foot-dragging from this government, we are now overdue for phase 1 of the rollout, which was supposed to cover all essential medicines—over half of all medications used by Canadians—by January 2022.
“At a time when the cost of living is impacting so many households, it has never been so important for our governments to step up to ensure that everyone in our country has access to the medications they need,” said Gallaway. “Instead, we’re hearing more and more stories of seniors cutting pills in half, and folks with diabetes having to share insulin and supplies to try to get through the month. Delaying action any longer is completely unacceptable.”
Friends of Medicare strongly encourages all Albertans to take action to ensure the federal government keeps their promise to implement universal, single-payer public Pharmacare.
“People in our province have always overwhelmingly supported universal Pharmacare. Now, it has never been more important for people in Alberta and across Canada to speak up and make sure our voices are heard louder than those of the big pharmaceutical companies who are lobbying hard to stop public, single-payer Pharmacare from happening,” concluded Gallaway.