Canada is closer than it ever has been to securing universal prescription drug coverage for all. Members of Parliament will vote this month on the NDP’s proposed law to create a national pharmacare program.

It will be the first vote in the House for Private Member’s Bill C-213, the Canada Pharmacare Act, which the NPD tabled a year ago. Bill C-213 is modelled on the Canada Health Act and will establish a universal, single-payer, comprehensive and public drug plan that will deliver better health care and improve the health and lives of millions of Canadians.

Canada is the only developed country in the world with universal health care that does not include prescription drugs. We have the third highest per-person costs for prescription drugs, after the United States and Switzerland. And we pay the world’s second highest prices for generic drugs. Canada’s current patchwork system of over 100,000 private and 100 public insurance plans is inefficient, expensive, and unfair.

Every day, all across Canada, people are forced to make impossible choices. Over the past year alone, one in four Canadians said they, or someone in their household, didn’t take their medicine as prescribed — if at all — because they couldn’t afford it. Even people with private coverage are seeing employer-sponsored benefits shrink — a trend that has accelerated because of COVID-19’s economic impacts. In fact, Canadians are twice as likely to have lost prescription drug coverage as to have gained it over the past year.

CUPE has long been a supporter of universal public pharmacare. That’s why we’re urging CUPE members to act, right now, to help make it happen. You can show your support by writing to your MP or joining the online Family Day for Pharmacare event on February 15, 2021.