April 14th, 2021

NDP bill lays groundwork for universal pharmacare

HALIFAX -- The NDP Caucus will table legislation today to require the Liberal government to work with other provinces and territories and the federal government to create a national universal pharmacare program.

“When people can’t afford their medication or they’re skipping doses to make medication last longer we have a serious problem with our public health system,” said Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Every government should be pushing forward with a plan to create national pharmacare as quickly as possible. The Nova Scotia Liberal government should commit to action on this file now.”

Between 30 and 40 per cent of Nova Scotia residents do not have access to private drug coverage and the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour estimates that 26 per cent of Nova Scotians do not take their medications as prescribed because of the cost.

In February of this year, Liberal MPs voted against a federal NDP bill that would establish a national framework for pharmacare.

“The vast majority of Canadians want to see prescription medication covered by universal pharmacare,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “People should be able to get the medication they need with their health card, instead of their credit card. The federal Liberals have been promising universal pharmacare for over two decades and have failed to deliver it. Canadians deserve better.”

The federal Liberals have claimed they need to conclude consultations with the provinces before building a national pharmacare program. This legislation would commit the province to working toward this goal.

Canada is the only OECD country with universal health care that does not also cover prescriptions.