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October 11, 2019

Conservatives fail Canadians suffering without pharmacare, say nurses

Federal Election
Media Release
I would love to know what Mr. Scheer has to say to the millions of Canadians who are forced to choose between food and their medicine.

Friday October 11, 2019 (OTTAWA, ON) – Canada’s nurses are frustrated that the Conservative Party of Canada has failed to commit to implementing a universal pharmacare program. The Liberal, NDP and Green parties have each committed to a national universal pharmacare program.

“It’s unfortunate to see a major federal party ignore the issue of pharmacare, given the overwhelming evidence that this program will save Canadians billions of dollars – and save hundreds of lives – every year,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

Support for pharmacare is extensive. Since the 1960s, five national commissions have recommended a universal pharmacare program. More recently, more than 1,200 health experts have voiced their support for such a program, as has the Canadian Medical Association.

“The only opposition to pharmacare appears to come from Big Pharma and Big Insurance,” added Silas. “I guess the Conservative Party of Canada would rather align itself with big-money interests than put everyday Canadians first.”

“I would love to know what Mr. Scheer has to say to the millions of Canadians who are forced to choose between food and their medicine.”

Earlier this year, a federal advisory council endorsed universal pharmacare as the best option for Canada. The Hoskins report was the product of more than a year of extensive study and consultation on the issue. Canada has nearly the highest per capita prescription drug costs in the world – costs which are expected to be significantly reduced by adopting a single-payer universal program.

In September 2017, the Parliamentary Budget Officer conservatively estimated that a national pharmacare program has the potential to save Canadians $4.2 billion per year.

“You would think that a party claiming to be fiscally responsible would be the first to rally behind a single-payer universal pharmacare program,” said Silas. “It’s a no-brainer: if you want to save money and lives, support pharmacare.”

A recent Environics poll commissioned by the CFNU and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, found that 93% of people in Canada feel it’s important for everyone to have equal access to prescription drugs. Almost 9 in 10 (88%) of those polled believe that the federal government has a responsibility to ensure this.

“In Canada, our public health coverage means that we don’t have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor or visit the hospital. The same should be true for prescription medications,” said Silas.


The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities and federal engagement in the future of public health care.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Ben René, CFNU Communications Officer,, 613-406-5962