February 13, 2020
The Honourable Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
Government of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Morneau,
We are a diverse coalition of 150 national and provincial organizations representing health care providers, non-profit organizations, unions, workers, business, seniors and patients from coast to coast to coast. In November 2019, over 150 of our organizations signed a joint Pharmacare Now Statement calling on all parties to work together to implement universal, public pharmacare within this government’s mandate. We are now calling on your government to make the financial commitments that are needed in this year’s budget to make this program a reality.
In the federal budget for 2019, the government provided $35 million over four years to establish a Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office. It also provided $1 billion over two years (starting in 2022–23) to develop a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases, with up to $500 million per year ongoing.
As laid out in the report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, an additional $3.5 billion is needed by 2022 to roll out the first stage of universal, public pharmacare. This stage would provide access to a national formulary of essential medicines by January 2022. Incremental increases in annual spending would subsequently be required to roll out a full, comprehensive formulary by January 2027.
The majority of Canadians voted for pharmacare in the 2019 election. We are counting on your government to fulfill its promise to Canadians by implementing the Advisory Council’s recommendations. Universal, public pharmacare would improve the health of our population and would save Canadians billions of dollars every year. Canada can’t afford not to adopt this program.
In this year’s budget, we hope to see the necessary minimum commitment of $3.5 billion in total for pharmacare between 2020 and 2022, as well as maintained funding for a rare diseases strategy. Anything less would put us behind schedule for implementing this essential new program.
We thank your government for its commitment to universal pharmacare. Only single-payer, public pharmacare will ensure everyone in Canada can access the medications they need.
The Pharmacare Now Coalition
Click here to view the letter and full list of signatories