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Universal prescription drug plan will lower prices and provide better coverage NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced this week his plan to work with provinces to make prescription drugs more affordable, by supporting universal prescription drug coverage and controlling drug costs through bulk purchasing.

“Canadians are paying too much for prescription drugs because Stephen Harper’s plan isn’t working,” said Mulcair. “Our health care priorities will lower the price Canadians have to pay for their prescriptions and help all Canadians cover those costs with better coverage.”

Under Stephen Harper, Canadians are now paying $6 billion a year on prescription drugs – 62 per cent more than in 2006. Ten percent of Canadians cannot afford to take the drugs prescribed by their doctors.

Working with the provinces, an NDP government will invest $2.6 billion over four years, with the goal of providing universal access to prescription drug coverage.

The NDP will also target a 30 per cent average reduction in the cost of prescription drugs to provinces and individuals through bulk purchasing programs and collaboration with provinces. This will generate as much as $3 billion in savings for provinces through their own drug coverage programs.

“Canadian families should never have to choose between food and medicine,” said Mulcair. “That’s why my goal will be to see all Canadians have prescription drug coverage once and for all.”



Half-way through this campaign Justin Trudeau has already maxed out his credit card, without proposing any plan to re-invest in Canada’s healthcare system. Meanwhile, here is what the experts are saying about Tom Mulcair’s sustainable plan to provide a universal prescription drug plan to lower prices and provide better coverage.

“Fixing the system will reduce the burden on patients and families and lower overall healthcare costs”
– – Gabriel Miller, Canadian Cancer Society

“The NDP has listened to the concerns of Canadians and health care professionals and has shown it is willing to act on health care.”
– Linda Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions

“Game-changer! Tom Mulcair commits $2.6B to support pharmacare plan”
– – Dr. Ritika Goel, Canadian Doctors for Medicare

“Key element of a National Seniors Strategy”
– – Canadian Medical Association

“Pharmacare would be the biggest advancement in Canadian health care since the introduction of Medicare”
– – Canadian Doctors for Medicare

“Canadians want a pan-Canadian pharmacare framework that is affordable, effective and efficient that prioritizes coverage for our most vulnerable”
– – Canadian Pharmacists Association

“The NDP’s vision of a universal, comprehensive, public pharmacare program… is the best way to ensure that all Canadians have equitable access to necessary medicines at a cost that is affordable to individuals and society as a whole.”
– – Dr. Steven Morgan, Professor, University of British Columbia, Founder, Pharmacare 2020

“Universal drug coverage…is an essential element to contain drug costs, achieve sustainability and improve the health outcomes of the population”
– – Marc-André Gagnon, PhD, Associate Professor, Carleton University



by Marc Laferriere (Originally published in BScene January 2015)

Health Care is supposed to be about keeping people well.

It is much cheaper in our universal health care system to do that. For example, prevention like healthy food and exercise is cheaper than a triple bypass surgery. And make no mistake about it – we absolutely need to find savings in our health care system.

It is a tough proposition because at the same time that health care costs seem exorbitant services appear to be less capable. In Brantford-Brant we’ve lost all of our walk in clinics for the general public, many still don’t have a family doctor and the wait-times at the emergency room in the city and urgent care in the county are very long.

The system is swamped and something needs to change.

But the tax coffers are swamped too and the public appetite to pay more to improve the system isn’t there. The general person also doesn’t believe all of that money is used properly – and they are right, not all of it is.

So what to do? How can we save money and improve health outcomes for people? Is there something innovative out there that can provide better care and lower costs?

Yes there is. They call it Pharmacare.

It works in 2 ways. The first is that by providing needed medicine in a timely way for people across the country you prevent medical issues from getting worse. Medication that keeps your medical issues in check means fewer people in the emergency room, at the doctor’s office and in our mental health facilities.

I ran across this often as a social worker in town. Drug X helps with a serious medical or mental health issue but it isn’t covered by your workplace or provincial plan. So the doctors try to find some samples of Drug X for a while that are free. The client does well, stabilizing on them but can’t afford to take them in the long term – and booking an appointment to see the doctor just to get some free samples isn’t really an efficient way to spend taxpayer dollars either. Those appointments cost money.

So the doctor finds another medication – but the patient reacts poorly to it. It doesn’t do the trick and back into the system they go – including potentially the very expensive emergency room or surgery if needed.

Providing the actual drugs people need gets them out of the doctors offices, the emergency room and can avoid expensive medical procedures.
The second way Pharamacare works to save us money is that purchasing drugs and medicines on a national level also reduces the costs. The bulk buying power on the federal level is great if put into action. As it stands we currently have a patchwork system for buying medication and because of this the cost of generic drugs in Canada is significantly higher than in other countries.