Employers sign on to joint letters in support of pharmacare


Why pharmacare?

Port Arthur Health Care in Thunder Bay and Wilson Display Ltd. of Brampton are the first two Unifor employers to sign the joint letter in support of a Canadian universal pharmacare program, as recommended at the 2017 Canadian Council.

“I applaud Port Arthur Health Centre and Wilson Display for taking action now to support a national pharmacare program,” said National President Jerry Dias. “For Canada to succeed in the global economy, a strong social system than includes access to universal pharmacare is essential.”

In November, Dias sent a letter and information package to all local unions and retiree chapters asking for support and participation to promote the campaign among members and in their community.

Also included in the information package was a template municipal resolution for local presidents to present and discuss with their elected officials, asking them to sign on and support the call for universal pharmacare. 

Here are a few facts:

  • Canada remains the only developed country with a national medicare program that does not have a national pharmacare program. 
  • As prescription drug prices continue to soar, over three million people in Canada don’t take medicines prescribed by their doctors because they can’t afford them.
  • Over eight million workers from across the country have no prescription drug coverage at all.
  • On average we pay 30 per cent more than other OECD countries for our prescription medicines, second only to the United States.

The lack of universal access often results in real harm – with patients not taking necessary medications – resulting in hospital admissions, additional public costs and even loss of life.

A universal pharmacare plan in Canada would however improve access and affordability through bulk purchases and negotiated pricing with drug manufacturers. It would eliminate duplication and cost-shifting among existing payers while promoting integration among health care providers.

Recent studies show a national drug plan through bulk purchasing could lower the costs of drugs enough to finance a full pharmacare system with no increase to government costs, and produce a net savings of up to $7 billion annually to Canadians. Even the federal Parliamentary Budget Office estimates minimum savings of at least $4 billion annually based on the most comprehensive drug coverage. The time to act is now – together we need to demand universal pharmacare for everyone, regardless of income, age, or where the person works or lives.

For more information on how to get involved in Unifor’s pharmacare campaign, click here.