Federal NDP pushes national pharmacare bill

By The Canadian Press and Kathryn Tindale

OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats are moving forward on their pledge to create a national pharmacare program Wednesday, with legislation pushing the Liberal government to act.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the private member’s bill is the first step.

“It is a clear step forward for the government to support us in getting this dream and idea of a universal, publically funded pharmacare for all into reality and we’re laying out the framework for that,” he said.

RELATED: More support for national pharmacare program as prescription drug costs grow

Singh adds the pandemic has taught Canadians they are stronger when they take care of each other.

“Over the past months, we’ve seen just how important it is to have the health care services we need when we need them,” he said. “Our pharmacare plan will mean a healthier Canada where no one has to make the impossible choice between the medicine they need and other essentials, like rent and food.”

The party’s House Leader and New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian is proposing a private member’s bill as a first step in developing the program.

“We lower the cost of medication overall, Canadians have universal coverage that so many Canadians support and at the same time it helps to contribute to competitive Canadian businesses,” Julian said.

The legislation, Bill C-213, would create a Pharmacare Act. It is supported by the Liberal government’s Hoskins Report and is supported by reports from the parliamentary committees on Health and Finance, according to the NDP.

“Our plan will guarantee that every Canadian can get the medication they need,” Julian said.

The Liberals promised in the last election campaign to move toward the creation of a national pharmacare program.

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