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February 28, 2024

‘Finally, our government is getting the prescription right’ – CFNU President Linda Silas


Statement on upcoming pharmacare legislation

Together, we’re making history.

The Liberals and NDP are set to introduce legislation that lays the foundation for a national pharmacare program.

This is our win. For nurses, patients and everyone in Canada.

After nearly 40 years of nurses’ and health care workers’ tireless advocacy, our governments are finally getting the prescription right.

Imagine watching a patient leave your care, knowing full well that they can’t afford the medication they need to stay healthy. Or seeing a patient return time after time in diabetic shock because they can’t afford their insulin. Nurses witness tragedies every day because millions of Canadians can’t afford medications that are essential to their health and well-being.

This is why the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) has been a staunch advocate for equal access to necessary pharmaceuticals since 1985.

We know that shortfalls in prescription drug coverage result in daily deaths and illness among people with treatable conditions – a grim finding from CFNU’s 2018 study, Body Count.

Introducing a framework for a single-payer universal public pharmacare program is more than a policy change. It will save lives and put Canada on the right track toward a healthier future for everyone. No longer will Canada be the only country in the world with a universal health care system that does not provide universal coverage for prescription medications.

Coverage starts with birth control, diabetes medications and a fund for critically needed diabetic equipment.

This is a victory, but I know it isn’t the full dose of pharmacare that Canadians need.

The incoming legislation is expected to lay out the next steps for expanding coverage to include essential medications, including the most commonly prescribed and clinically important drugs.

Nurses will continue to be there every step of the way to hold our leaders’ feet to the fire and ensure people in Canada get the comprehensive pharmacare program we all need.

In unwavering solidarity,

Linda Silas, CFNU President