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July 21, 2016

Canada’s Nurses Serve up the Facts on Pharmacare to Premiers at CoF 2016


The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) presents case for making pharmacare a part of our complete Canadian public
health care system at breakfast meeting in Whitehorse.

Thursday July 21, 2016 (Whitehorse, YT) – Today the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) will host Canada’s premiers for a breakfast meeting entitled “Filling the Prescription – the Federal Role within a National Pharmacare Program” during the Council of the Federation meetings in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The breakfast meeting will feature Dr. Steve Morgan, a professor of health policy in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC and an expert in pharmaceutical policy, who will present opportunities for federal investment in pharmacare, and Dr. Ruth Lopert, a former senior official in the Australian government, who will offer an international perspective. The group will also hear from the Honourable Darrell Pasloski, Premier of Yukon, and Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.

“We are the only country with a universal public health care system that does not provide universal coverage of medicines, and currently one in ten Canadians cannot afford to fill their prescriptions,” said CFNU president, Linda Silas. “This means that each day people in this country are being forced to choose between feeding their families and filling their prescriptions. Every day nurses experience the dangers of the difficult decisions health employers and provincial/territorial governments have to make when the money runs out for health care services in our communities. People suffer while the price of prescription drugs continue to skyrocket,” continued Silas.

“Implementing a universal pharmacare program is the next step in the evolution of our health care system,” said Dr. Steve Morgan. “It is long overdue, and there are literally thousands of lives and billions of dollars at stake.”

Drs. Morgan and Lopert show how a universal pharmacare plan can work in a federation like Canada. Evidence from Australia shows that a national approach to pharmacare can reduce burdens on provinces and territories, increase access to medicines in all regions, and save billions of dollars per year. Canadian research shows that citizens, businesses and health professionals strongly support a national pharmacare plan.

“Pharmacare is the kind of feasible, transformative change in Canadian health care the federal government says it is willing to invest in. But we need action from all levels of government to make this happen,” concluded Dr. Morgan.

The CFNU represents close to 200,000 frontline nurses and has been calling for a national pharmacare program that could save Canada $9-11 billion annually. Canada’s nurses would like to see this money reinvested back into our health care system.

“With federal and provincial/territorial negotiations for the next Health and Social Accord around the corner, the time for a national pharmacare plan is now,” said Silas. “Canada’s nurses are pleased to stand with our premiers in this call for action,” concluded Silas.

This invitation-only breakfast meeting will take place at the Gold Rush Inn, and participants will be available for interviews following the event at 8:20 am.


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The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses. The CFNU has been advocating for national discussions on key health priorities, such as a national prescription drug plan, a comprehensive approach to long-term and continuing care, greater attention to health human resources, and federal government engagement on the future of public health care.


For further information please contact:

Emily Doer
Communications Officer