President’s Message – April 10, 2024

Dear ACER-CART Colleagues,

Once again, a sincere “thank you” to the many members who accessed the ACER-CART website and participated in the “Share Your Voice” campaign advocating a National Pharmacare Program. The Political Advocacy Committee is encouraging members to once again add their voices to the campaign now that we have additional information gleaned from the wording in Bill C-64: An Act Respecting Pharmacare.

Bill C-64 received first reading in the House of Commons on February 29, 2024. This Bill is based on the five principles in the Canada Health Act (public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability, accessibility) and carried out in accordance with the recommendations from Dr. Eric Hoskins’ Advisory Council on The Implementation of National Pharmacare.

The purpose of the Act is to guide efforts to improve for all Canadians, the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs and related products, and to support their appropriate use. The aim of the legislation is to work towards the implementation of a national, single payer, first dollar coverage of a universal Pharmacare program.

The Act proposes the development of a national formulary of essential prescription drugs and related products and to provide for the development of a national bulk purchasing strategy. The legislation clearly states that both of these requirements will be implemented on the first anniversary on which Bill C-64 receives royal assent.

By insisting on the development of a national formulary and the development of an appropriate-use strategy, these institutional tools will make drug coverage not only more accessible, but also more rational, efficient, safe, in addition to providing value-for-money. For example, the Parliamentary Budget Office forecasts savings of $1.4 billion in 2026–2027 and $2.2 billion the following year due to the improved power of a single-payer system.

At the present time Bill C-64 allows every Canadian with a health card to access first dollar coverage for diabetes products and contraception. I understand that discussions continue to expand the list of covered drugs to include antibiotics, cholesterol medicines, blood pressure medications and psychological medications such as antidepressants.

Now is not the time to be complacent! We need your voice more than ever to keep the pressure on the government to implement the recommendations in Bill C-64 and to add more medications to the formulary.

New Mode allows more than one submission. Express your concerns by contacting the federal and provincial politicians on the easy-to-use letter writing tools on the ACER-CART website ACER-CART Home – ACER-CART. Just enter your name, e-mail address and postal code. Click on “Share Your Voice” and read the prepared letter. Add to the letter if you wish. Press SEND and the e-mail will go to all the politicians listed. You will also receive a copy.

Once again, on behalf of ACER-CART, I thank you in advance for continuing to participate in our National Pharmacare program.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Berryman
President ACER-CART