BC FORUM News - from The Advocate, Autumn 2016
National Pharmacare is long overdue
BC FORUM and allies in the labour movement and seniors groups are hopeful that the decades-long push for a national Pharmacare program may finally be nearing a successful conclusion. “The devil is in the details as to what form it will take, but I truly believe it’s going to happen,” says Diane Wood, President of BC FORUM.
Wood, Lorraine Logan, President of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC (COSCO), and BC FORUM board member Barb Mikulec recently met with Don Davies, NDP MP and Co-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health to emphasize the immediate need for action on Pharmacare.
BC FORUM has been monitoring the committee’s deliberations, as well as other political developments. “Support for Pharmacare is growing significantly,” said Wood.
“Nine in ten Canadians support a national program. More and more provinces are coming on board, as are health care professionals. The Canadian Medical Association called for national Pharmacare at its AGM last year. Nurses have fought for it for years and years. The labour movement is solidly in support. Large corporations and the BC Chamber of Commerce now say yes. And the last federal Liberal convention did likewise,” said Wood.
“With so many influential groups and decision-makers catching up with public opinion on this urgent issue, I’m optimistic that Pharmacare will finally happen.”
Diane Wood, President of BC FORUM, Lorraine Logan, President of COSCO, and Barb Mikulec, BC FORUM board member, presented the compelling case for a national Pharmacare program during a recent meeting with Don Davies, Co-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health.
Quick facts about the need for national Pharmacare
The case for Pharmacare is currently being studied by the House of Commons Standing Committee on health. Pharmacare is also a key component of negotiations towards a new federal-provincial Health Accord. The evidence in favour of a national Pharmacare program is overwhelming:
• Canada is the only country in the world that has excluded prescription drugs from its public health care system. Universal public drug coverage is the rule among OECD nations.
• Canada has the second lowest percentage of the people covered by a public drug insurance plan in all OECD countries, after the US.
• We have the second highest expenditure per capita on pharmaceuticals.
• Prescription drug costs are growing faster in Canada than any other developed nation, including the US.
• If Canada paid the same official price for prescriptions as the OECD median, Canadians would save about 25 percent on patented drugs.
Prescription drugs are an essential part of quality public health care – and patients who can’t afford to fill prescriptions frequently end up making hospital visits that could have been avoided.