FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2017
Canada’s labour leaders to the premiers: Saskatchewan people & all Canadians need life-saving Pharmacare Plan
Meeting in Alberta concurrently to the Council of the Federation, labour leaders from across Canada urge the premiers to lobby the federal government for a national Pharmacare plan to ensure all Saskatchewan people and Canadians have access to life-saving medications, and to bring down the costs of the current system.
“Canada’s piece-meal multi-payer drug system is expensive, inefficient, and doesn’t ensure people receive the life-saving prescriptions they need,” said Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), “Canadians – including those right here in Saskatchewan – are spending millions a year on this patchwork of multi-payer funding, paying among the highest prices worldwide for prescription, squandering money that’s needed for other healthcare investments.” Canada’s public per capita prescription drug spending in 2014 was 2nd highest amongst OECD countries, at $772 USD, far above average.
The high costs of the current system are also felt by individuals and families. Canadians who rely on prescription drugs simply don’t have the money to cover costs, and instead are splitting pills, skipping dosages, sharing medicines, or going into debt. Almost 1 in 10 Canadians are going without life-saving prescriptions because they can’t afford them. “When people skip medications or ignore doctors’ orders because of costs, additional burdens to the healthcare system cost everyone more,” said Hubich.
By adopting a single-payer program, Canadians would benefit from bulk purchasing power, giving them the power to obtain competitively priced prescription drugs. A single-payer universal prescription drug program could save Canadians approximately $7.3 billion a year based on an additional $1 billion in public spending.
“Saskatchewan people and all Canadians know bulk buying is the smart option,” said Hubich, “in public surveys, over 90% of both citizens and employers believe a Universal Prescription Drug Plan is important to Canadian healthcare coverage. Pharmacare is the type of smart policy Canadians are looking for from our political leaders.”
Canada is the only country with universal health care that does not have a universal program for prescription coverage, despite the stated goal of universal coverage in the 2004-2014 Health Accord.
During events concurrent to the Council of the Federation, presidents of provincial and territorial labour federations will urge premiers from across Canada to re-commit to a single-payer, universal prescription drug plan to save lives and money.
Together, Canada’s provincial and territorial labour federations give voice to over three million workers.
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For additional information, contact:
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
o: 1 (306) 525-0197
m: 1 (306) 570-1855