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February 27, 2018

Canada’s nurses welcome reports of a federal pharmacare task force


Tuesday, February 27, 2018 (OTTAWA) – Canada’s nurses welcome recent media reports that the Hon. Eric Hoskins will lead a task force on national pharmacare. The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) has been calling for universal prescription drug coverage for more than 20 years.

“After decades of advocating for national pharmacare, this news is a victory for nurses, patients, and all Canadians,” said Linda Silas, President of the CFNU. “National pharmacare is a common sense and long overdue measure that will be good for patients, good for public health care, and good for taxpayers.”

Canada has wasted $62 billion health care dollars from 2006 to 2015 without pharmacare, according to a report commissioned by the CFNU. On the other hand, a separate report by Carleton University professor Marc-André Gagnon found that universal pharmacare could generate savings of up to $11.4 billion annually, while simultaneously increasing access to health care and improving health outcomes.

“If the news of a national task force is true, I want to congratulate the Trudeau government for taking a meaningful step towards building a pharmacare program that will benefit everyone,” said Silas. “Dr. Hoskins has shown effective leadership in improving prescription drug coverage in Ontario with his landmark OHIP+ program – he is the right person for this job.”

On February 26, 2018, citing a federal government source, CBC news reported that Ontario Health Minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins was resigning from provincial politics to lead a federal task force on pharmacare.

“Canada’s nurses expect this task force to focus squarely on implementing a comprehensive universal pharmacare program, with an evidence-based formulary and first-dollar coverage,” said Silas. “Decades of research, consultations, Royal Commissions and studies have already delivered the verdict that pharmacare is right for Canada – we do not need yet another study.”

The CFNU will be looking for more details in today’s federal budget and is committed to working with the federal government to get the job done and deliver pharmacare for Canada.

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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 advocates 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 engagement on the future of public health care.

For further information please contact:

Lauren Snowball, CFNU Communications Officer, (613) 868-5702, lsnowball (at)