BC FORUM News – From The Advocate, Spring 2018
CAMPAIGN FOR PHARMACARE
Are the Liberals giving us the runaround – again?
Well that was quick. Usually they wait until after an election to break their promises. It took the Trudeau government only 24 hours to shatter their promise of action on a long overdue national prescription drug plan.
It was a big announcement in the federal budget speech. A lot of people were both thrilled and surprised. The very next day the finance minister said he didn’t really mean it.
It’s just “a strategy” not a plan, said Bill Morneau. It would never replace private plans like those provided by his former company, Morneau Shepell, the largest benefit consulting firm in the country, he explained.
“It’s deeply disturbing that the man who controls the purse strings has already made it clear he wants to maintain the patchwork system that forces Canadians to pay some of the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs,” says Diane Wood, President of BC FORUM.
“Papering over some of the gaps, as minister Morneau proposes, won’t change that,” said Wood.
“We’ll need to keep up the pressure for a national program that ensures everyone can get their prescriptions. Too many are forced to do without, and end up in hospitals much sicker than they were before.”
BC FORUM has long campaigned for pharmacare, noting that Canada is the only country with a public health system that does not have a national public drug plan.
Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that such a plan could save Canadians up to $7.3 billion a year.
The federal Liberals last promised a pharmacare program in their 1997 platform. They didn’t deliver then, and are already backtracking now.