The importance of a national pharmacare program


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This article was published 22/02/2021 (831 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Living in a pandemic for the last year has highlighted our health system and the incredible work our health-care providers and administrators do every day in our hospitals, long-term care homes, clinics and more.

For myself, it has further highlighted what our province could be doing to better support those in our health-care fields as well as Manitobans who struggle to afford prescribed medications.

This is why it is critical that as a province we start pushing for a national pharmacare program.

For those not familiar with the idea, this would be a prescription medication insurance for all, whereby all Canadians would have access to prescribed medication based on their needs.

Currently, and just as examples, prescribed medications such as continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps for those living with diabetes are not covered by Manitoba Health. A national pharmacare program would cover the deductibles for Manitobans with chronic or serious illnesses that Manitobans are currently having to pay out of pocket. These bills continue to put some Manitobans in the position where they are having to choose between paying for their prescribed medications or being able to afford rent or groceries.

Back in March 2018, I shared a statement in the legislature chambers explaining why this is such an important issue. In April 2018, I asked in Question Period if the minister of health would work with the other levels of government to ensure that those needing prescribed medications would have access to them and the minister chose not to address the question.

Further to this, I started a petition in 2019 that received an overwhelming response urging the provincial government to encourage the federal government to amend the Canada Health Act by adding prescription medicines prescribed by a licensed practitioner to the definition of covered services in accordance with an established formulary and to urge the provincial government to develop, jointly with the federal government, a universal, single-payer, evidence-based, sustainable public drug plan that contains purchasing power to secure best available prices, a list of essential medicines addressing priority health needs and the ability to expand to a comprehensive permanent plan that would promote the health and well-being of all Canadians.

Ultimately, I believe this provincial government should support Manitobans in being able to afford their prescribed medications and that is why I am calling on our premier not to let pride, jurisdiction or anything else prevent Manitobans from being a part of a national pharmacare program.

Cindy Lamoureux

Cindy Lamoureux
Tyndall Park constituency report

Cindy Lamoureux is the Liberal MLA for Tyndall Park.

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