September 18, 2015 | Toronto, ON
Canadian Doctors for Medicare today welcomed the inclusion of a national pharmacare program in the NDP platform, and renewed its call for all federal parties to affirm their commitments to supporting and improving public health care while establishing pharmacare as a priority. So far in this campaign, the Green Party and NDP have made such commitments.
“Every day, doctors in this country work with patients whose well-being depends on access to medications they can’t afford. We know that a national pharmacare plan will not only ensure these people receive the medications they need, but that it can be developed cost-effectively, saving Canadians upwards of $7 billion and costing the federal government nothing to implement,” said Dr. Ryan Meili, Acting Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Pharmacare is crucial to the health of Canadians,” he added, “and should be an election issue that all parties commit to addressing. We welcome the NDP’s announcement today and look forward to hearing from the Liberal and Conservative parties.”
Recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 Canadian families can’t afford to pay for their medications, a problem that is unique amongst countries with universal health care systems. In fact, Canada is the only country with universal health care that doesn’t include public coverage for prescription medications. “This is a reality the federal parties need to address,” said Meili, “and it’s a call that’s being picked up by Canadians across the country. In a recent Angus Reid poll, 91% of Canadians indicated that they want a national drug plan to be part of our public system.”
The Green Party and NDP join a groundswell of cross-Canada support for national drug coverage, with non-profits, unions, academics, health professionals, and politicians crossing provincial, territorial, and political divides to show their support. In the recent Premiers conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Newfoundland Premier Paul Davis, and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger all added their names to a giant prescription form calling on federal leaders to implement a national pharmacare strategy.
“Canadian Doctors for Medicare welcomes the NDP’s commitment to a vision of equitable access to prescription drugs, as well as their presence among a growing list of parties, organizations, and concerned Canadians committed to pharmacare,” said Meili. “Pharmacare would be the biggest advancement in Canadian health care since the introduction of Medicare. It’s time that Canada got up-to-speed with other countries offering universal health care by mending this gap in our system.”
Dr. Ryan Meili from CDM is available for interviews in either English or French
Canadian Doctors for Medicare provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. We advocate for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.