The 2019 Canadian Election: What Federal Leaders have Promised on Pharmacare

SHAFNA KALLIL

A source of Canadian pride is the universal healthcare system. As citizens, many of us are proud that this country ensures the healthcare needs of all citizens, regardless of one’s income. Although in reality, Canadians are still struggling to afford medications that are prescribed for their treatments and in turn, face potential adverse health reactions. As such, Pharmacare has become a hot topic for this current election, with 88% of Canadians believing that it is the duty of the federal government to ensure that every individual has equal access to prescription drugs [4].On October 21st, 2019, Canadians across the country will cast their ballots, voting for the party whom they believe best represents them and their ideals. With the release of the election platforms, this article will relay each party’s campaign promises in regard to pharmacare.

The Liberal Party of Canada, headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has promised to take the critical next steps in implementing national universal pharmacare so that all Canadians have the drug coverage they need at an affordable price. They have promised to back up this claim with an additional commitment of $6 billion over the next four years, which will also be used to ensure every Canadian has access to primary healthcare services (e.g. access to mental health care, palliative, and at-home care) [6].

The Conservative Party of Canada, headed by Andrew Scheer, currently has no plans to adopt a universal pharmacare system. In response to the Federal Advisory Council’s report on the implementation of universal, single-payer, public pharmacare, Andrew Scheer stated he does not trust the Liberal government to implement a system like Pharmacare [1].

The National Democratic Party, headed by Jagmeet Singh, has promised to expand Medicare to include prescription drug coverage for everyone, regardless of income, age, location and health. The party promised an annual federal investment of $10 billion, ensuring that citizens will no longer need to pay at a pharmacy and promising big savings for employers [3].

The Green Party, headed by Elizabeth May, also promises to expand the Medicare model to include pharmacare, as well as providing free dental care for low-income Canadians. Her party has promised to create a bulk drug purchasing agency, as well as reduce drug patent protection periods [7].

The People’s Party of Canada, headed by Maxime Bernier, currently does not have any plans to introduce a pharmacare model, but are focusing on replacing the Canada Health Transfer system with a permanent transfer system that equivalently pays all provinces and territories [2].

The Bloc Quebecois, headed by Yves-François Blanchet, has promised to change how drug prices are currently determined. The party stated that drug prices are currently determined by comparing prices with seven nations with the highest drug prices, and that they will modify the system by removing the United States from the reference list. The Bloc stated that Quebec will benefit about $500 million a year [5].

With the Canadian federal election fast approaching, it is important to stay informed on the election promises proposed by each party. This year, there is a wide array of approaches to Pharmacare, and it is important to determine which proposal is the most beneficial to you, your family and friends, and to the nation as a whole. As such, on October 21st, citizens are encouraged to go to the polls and vote!

 

References

[1] Backgrounder: Gaping hole in the Trudeau liberal platform. (2019, October 1). Retrieved October 7, 2019, from Canada’s Official Opposition website: https://www.conservative.ca/backgrounder-gaping-hole-in-the-trudeau-liberal-platform/.

[2] Health care: Giving provinces the incentives to deal with wait times and rising costs. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2019, from People’s Party of Canada website: https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/health_care_giving_provinces_the_incentives_to_deal_with_wait_times_and_rising_costs.

[3] Making life more affordable for everyday people. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2019, from Canada’s NDP website: https://www.ndp.ca/affordability?focus=13934109&nothing=nothing.

[4] New poll reveals overwhelming support for pharmacare—Canada’s Nurses Canada’s Nurses. (2019, September 24). Retrieved October 7, 2019, from Canada’s Nurses website: https://nursesunions.ca/new-poll-reveals-overwhelming-support-for-pharmacare/.

[5] PLATEFORME POLITIQUE DU BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2019, from https://www.blocquebecois.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Plateforme_Bloc2019_web-1.pdf.

[6] Public health care | our platform. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2019, from https://2019.liberal.ca/our-platform/public-health-care/.

[7] Renewing the social contract. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2019, from Green Party of Canada website: https://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform/renew-social-contract.