Advisory Council’s $15 billion single-payer pharmacare recommendation step in right direction, timeline unacceptable

OTTAWA – The Liberal government’s advisory council today recommended the establishment of a $15 billion universal, single-payer public pharmacare system. The plan would create a new drug agency to oversee a national list of prescription medicines. Initial coverage of some common and essential prescription medicines is slated to begin in January, 2022 with an expanded and more comprehensive list to be covered by January, 2027.

“While I hope the Trudeau administration will accept the recommendations put forth by the advisory council, the plan’s timeline falls far short of what is needed,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Canadians need universal pharmacare now, not eight years from now. To be effective, the Liberals would need to implement these recommendations much sooner.

“The Green Party was the first party to call for universal Pharmacare and we’ll continue to advocate for it. Canada needs one single universal pharmacare program, not a patchwork of public and private plans. We are concerned that recommendation 59 is too weak. We need to drive down drug prices as the Green Party plan would do. Our plan would also apply the approach of the UBC Therapeutics Initiative to ensure the meticulous review of new medications before they are approved. This will certify the efficacy of new drugs and prevent registering drugs that hurt more people than they help. Not only will this improve the health of Canadians, it will save up to $11 billion annually. We know what needs to be done, so let’s do it now.”