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CFNU’s Pharmacare Recommendations

Following the federal government’s launch the of Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, Canada’s nurses hosted a roundtable event for Canada’s premiers, featuring Council Chair Dr. Eric Hoskins. Nurses called for the implementation of a national pharmacare program that is public, universal single-payer and based on a national formulary. In September 2018, the CFNU joined more than 75 national, provincial and territorial organizations in signing onto a set of Consensus Principles to form the basis of a truly effective and equitable program. These principles included universality; public, single-payer administration; accessibility; comprehensiveness; and portable coverage. Nurses have also called for strong federal leadership through legislation and appropriate federal transfer funding.

Read the CFNU’s submission to the Advisory Council’s national consultations.

Pushing back against “The Big Money Club”

As the opposition to pharmacare began to organize from the usual sectors, the CFNU commissioned The Big Money Club, an expert-researched exposé on the deep-pocketed interests bankrolling the anti-pharmacare campaign. The report connects the dots between special interests, including Big Pharma, Big Insurance and billionaires, and the flush campaign to deny the evidence and stop pharmacare in Canada.


Canada’s nurses know that a national pharmacare program will save billions of dollars every year and save lives each and every day.

Since 1991, the CFNU has called on federal and provincial governments to work together to build national prescription drug program for everyone in Canada. Over the subsequent decades, we have worked hard to build momentum towards this goal by conducting and publishing groundbreaking research, meeting regularly with MPs, ministers and premiers, presenting before parliamentary committees and premiers’ summits.

In February 2018, nearly three decades of lobbying by the CFNU for a national pharmacare program paid off with the federal launch of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. Former Ontario Health Minister and champion of Youth Pharmacare, Dr. Eric Hoskins, was tasked with leading the Advisory Council in developing an implementation plan for pharmacare in Canada. The Advisory Council is mandated to report back to Parliament by April 2019, paving the way for public drug coverage for all in Canada. This development is a victory for nurses who have long called for such a program. The CFNU continues to work hard with the Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Health Coalition and many other allies to support the creation of a universal, single-payer pharmacare program that aligns seamlessly with public Medicare. While we have made significant strides, there is more work to be done.

Quick Facts

Pharmacare is a common sense solution to high prescription drug costs and financial barriers in accessing medicines:

  • Over 600 Canadians die each year from one disease alone because they can’t afford the prescriptions needed to stay alive and healthy.
  • With more than 100 public and 100,000 private insurance plans, Canada’s per capita prescription drug prices have risen to the third highest in the world.
  • We are wasting $7.3 billion per year, or $14,000 squandered health care dollars every minute of every day, without pharmacare.
  • Nearly one in four Canadian households report members not having the money to take prescription medicines as they are prescribed.
  • Canada is the only industrialized country with universal Medicare that does not have universal coverage for prescription medicines.
  • A single, universal drug plan will result in efficiencies and savings to the tune of between $4 and $11 billion per year in monies already being spent.

Read CFNU’s pharmacare factsheet for more information.

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