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Pharmacare advocates to new Parliament: “The time for pharmacare is now”

OTTAWA, Jan. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As Parliament prepares to resume, a coalition of pharmacare advocates gathered in Ottawa to strategize the next steps to ensure the successful delivery of universal pharmacare. With polls showing over 90 per cent of Canadians in support of a national pharmacare program, and the Hoskins Report providing a clear path to implementation, 2020 is set to deliver big change to the way Canadians access their prescriptions.

“The Hoskins Report is done, the election promises have been made, the Ministers’ mandate letters are clear and the majority of MPs are with us. Canadians are ready. It’s time for pharmacare,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff. “With a critical mass of support, it’s time for this Liberal government to seize this historic opportunity to implement universal, single-payer national pharmacare.”

The Hoskins Report stated that an initial investment of $3.5 billion will be required in Federal Budget 2020 to the first step toward implementing universal pharmacare. The group of advocates emphasised this investment is the needed immediately to kick start this process.

“Right now, 7.5 million Canadians have inadequate drug coverage or none at all. In fact, 16 per cent of people in Canada go without medication for heart disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol because of cost,” added Heart & Stroke CEO Yves Savoie. “We can’t wait any longer.”

Besides Budget 2020, stakeholders identified other milestones to ensure the implementation of this key missing piece of Medicare can be a success. Most importantly, they discussed how to bring pharmacare supporters and Canadians along this historic journey, and where it can lead us into the future.

“The cost savings of a single-payer model has been proven time and again,” added Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas. “With government and opposition support, we’re closer than ever to making single-payer pharmacare a reality,”

The group of pharmacare advocates is made up of organizations representing civil society, business, labour and patient interest groups.

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