News release: Commitment to pharmacare in Throne Speech worthy of standing ovation

Heart & Stroke applauds the government’s commitment to quick action to make the plan a reality

Ottawa — Heart & Stroke welcomes the commitment to a national, universal pharmacare program in today’s Speech from the Throne including a rare disease strategy and a national formulary. The government committed to working with provinces and territories willing to move forward without delay.

“We were pleased to see the commitment to implementing a universal pharmacare program in the Speech from the Throne. Access to medically necessary medication is an essential part of universal health coverage,” says Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “A national plan will contain costs, reduce the burden on the health system and provide the access to medically necessary medication that everyone in Canada deserves.”

Prior to COVID-19, 7.5 million people in Canada had no or inadequate prescription drug coverage. Between March and April of this year, three million jobs were lost due to the pandemic and unemployment remains high. This means even fewer Canadians have employment-related health benefits including prescription drug coverage. Also concerning is that pandemic-related unemployment has disproportionately impacted recent immigrants, racialized persons, and women. Women were already often in more precarious work situations including part-time positions that do not offer drug plans.

National, universal pharmacare is more important than ever to the health of Canadians.

“We look forward to working with the government on the health priorities outlined in the Throne Speech including expanded capacity for virtual care, and urge that other vital health policies be specified in the Health Minister’s mandate letter including stronger regulations to protect youth from vaping, legislation to restrict food and beverage marketing to children and mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling,” says Roth.

For more information

Stephanie Lawrence

About Heart & Stroke

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so people in Canada don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.