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British Columbians will be forced to shell out $400 million to pay for added costs of the BC government’s new pharmacare scheme, meaning drug bills will more than quadruple for seniors of modest means, and more than double for the average BC family with children.

“This is an outrageous move that will put lifesaving drugs beyond the reach of many BC residents,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.

CUPE research has revealed that the province wants to increase deductibles for pharmacare benefits to between three and four per cent of individual or family total income.

As a result, annual drug costs for a single elderly male (average income $28,000) could balloon to $1,136, an increase of $861. A single female (average income $24,000) faces a hike of as much as $685. And for a family with children (average combined income $71,000), costs could rise by more than $1,800.

“Few British Columbians will escape this latest Liberal effort to offload additional health care costs onto the backs of low and middle income people,” says Chris Allnutt, spokesperson for HEU, CUPE’s BC health services division.

CUPE is advocating an alternate strategy for containing drug costs including a national drug plan, a change to patent laws, bulk buying and action to end over-prescribing medications.