March 04, 2024
Statement from National President Shawn Haggerty on National Pharmacare
Pharmacy shelves

Ottawa – February 28, 2024 – On Friday, Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced that the NDP have reached a deal with the Liberal government to introduce the first component of a national pharmacare program that includes coverage for birth control and diabetes medication.

This victory is the success of many decades of activism from the New Democrats and Canada’s labour movement including UFCW Canada, advocating for workers and all Canadians. The New Democrats have fought to deliver free contraception, diabetes medication and devices, and a plan for single-payer pharmacare so that Canadians can stay healthier and save money.

Everyone should have access to the medication they need with their health card, not their credit card.  But nearly one in four Canadians have reported splitting pills, skipping doses, or deciding not to renew or fill their prescriptions due to high costs. While big pharmaceutical and insurance companies are making huge profits, Canadians are paying amongst the highest prices in the world for their medication.

Many of our UFCW members work in health care and pharmacies and know how necessary a truly universal pharmacare system is. Every day, they see patients who are turned away for being unable to afford physician-provided prescriptions.  This announcement is the first step towards an accessible, comprehensive universal prescription drug plan that is so urgently needed.

With this announcement, the New Democrats have stood their ground on pharmacare: they have secured the framework for single-payer pharmacare in legislation, and they’re getting free contraception for millions of women and coverage for millions of people impacted by diabetes. By providing free contraception, the NDP is giving women and gender diverse people the care and the choices they deserve.

Our UFCW family, the Canadian labour movement, and the New Democrats have fought for Canadians at every step of the way and will continue to do so until truly universal Pharmacare is a reality.