Health experts urge federal leaders to commit to national pharmacare

Open letter signed by more than 1,200 experts in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, economics, and law

Eric Hoskins, chair of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

More than 1,200 Canadian health care and public policy experts have signed an open letter to federal party leaders, calling on each of them to commit to implementing a national pharmacare system.

They say comprehensive public medication programs have improved access and reduced costs everywhere they’ve been implemented and want to keep national pharmacare from becoming a partisan issue.

The group of experts from across the country includes professors of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, economics, political science and law — many of them recognized as leaders in their fields.

They note that, since the 1960s, five separate national commissions have concluded that universal pharmacare would be the fairest and most affordable way to ensure universal access to necessary medicines in Canada.

Steve Morgan of the University of BC says he believes an actual program has not yet materialized in part because industry stakeholders who stand to lose billions in revenue have waged a concerted lobby over the years to prevent it from happening.

“Part of the reason for having so many experts in an academic environment sign a letter of this nature is to remind Canadians that Canadian experts who are independent of stakeholders that might benefit from the status quo are consistently on side with moving forward,” Morgan said.

RELATED: Expert panel recommends Canada implement single-payer pharmacare plan

“(We are) trying to send a signal that if a government moves forward with this recommendation, experts will support them.”

The letter urges all parties to put a plan to implement a national drug program in their campaign platforms and to follow through with those plans. It says the issue has been studied at length, and calls for immediate action, beginning in 2020.

They are endorsing the model proposed by an expert panel, led by former Ontario health minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, that recently studied the issue and delivered recommendations to the Trudeau government for a phased-in rollout of a national drug plan.

Such a plan would result in savings of an approximately $5 billion annually, an average of $350 a year for each family, the panel concluded.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP Report

Callouts for Columbia Valley RCMP, October 14-20th

BC Liberal leader guest speaker at CVCC lunch

Andrew Wilkinson talks interprovincial healthcare, forestry, and more at Chamber gathering

Rockies rally with three-game winning streak

Cheer on the Rockies at Eddie Mountain Friday, October 25th as they battle the Bruins

Morrison wins Kootenay-Columbia for Conservative Party

Unofficial results peg 28,495 votes for Morrison with 98 per cent of polls reporting Monday evening

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

100-pound pumpkin stolen a second time from B.C. business

According to security footage, a man and woman took the pumpkin on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

Feds finally decriminalizing drugs possible – but it’s up to Jagmeet Singh, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

In the news: Wexit, Brexit and Trump sparks outrage

There’s been a surge of support for an Alberta separatist group

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Most Read