New Westminster seeks support for national pharmacare program

New Westminster is urging the federal government to introduce a national pharmacare program.

Coun. Nadine Nakagawa said a national pharmacare program would benefit all Canadians economically and socially.

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“National pharmacare is really crucial,” she said. “If people take medications as prescribed because they need them, not whether or not they can afford them, it will actually save health-care costs.”

Council unanimously approved Nakagawa’s motion to call on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to develop and implement a universal public national pharmacare program as a top priority. The city will also ask all B.C. municipalities to write letters of support for a national pharmacare program and will submit a resolution to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asking that the FCM call on the federal government to work with provinces and territories to develop and implement a national pharmacare program.

“I think national pharmacare is crucial to people in our community. We heard it loud and clear around the federal election, people talking about this a lot,” Nakagawa said. “I am just looking to have this supported at the FCM.”

Nakagawa’s motion states that more than three million Canadians don’t take medicines prescribe by their doctors because they can’t afford them. The motion states Canada is the only country with a national Medicare program that doesn’t also have a national pharmacare program and suggests that adding a national pharmacare program to the national health system would lower costs to businesses by more than $8 billion per year.

On the same day council approved Nakagawa’s motion, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced a plan to give universal, comprehensive and public pharmacare coverage to all Canadians. The federal NDP states that once implemented, its pharmacare plan would ensure free access to prescribed medicine for Canadians through our public health care system, make emergency wait-times shorter, free up more hospital beds for those who need them and save Canadians more than $4.2 billion.


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