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Friends of Medicare urges full support for new pharmacare deal

Posted on April 18, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance

By Anna Smith
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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riends of Medicare is expressing concern in response to a statement from the province, stating Alberta would likely opt out of the coming national pharmacare plan.
It was announced Feb. 23 that the federal Liberals and NDP had reached a deal that would include single-payer coverage of contraceptives and diabetes medication and equipment, though full details would be released later.

This was followed by a statement from provincial Health Minister Adriana LaGrange’s office, stating the UCP government’s intent to opt out of the new plan, which executive director of Friends of Medicare Chris Galloway referred to as “siding with the profits of big pharmaceutical and insurance corporations over the health and well-being of Albertans.”

“Canada currently pays some of the highest drug costs in the world, and millions are struggling to afford the medications that they need,” said Galloway. “It is well documented that moving to a national, single-payer pharmacare plan would save governments, employers, Albertans and our provincial health-care systems billions of dollars per year. And most importantly it would save countless lives.”

The province has expressed concern regarding costs to Albertans, but Galloway stresses that currently, one in five Canadian households still cannot afford to fill their prescriptions, and do not have access to drug coverage, as the ability to buy a benefit plan if they can afford one is not the same as universal coverage.

“The fact is, Canada remains the only country with a universal Medicare program that does not include prescription medications. At a moment when so many Albertans are struggling with the cost of living, and access to the health care they need, it is outrageous to see our provincial government working to undermine this long overdue expansion of our public health-care coverage,” said Gallaway.

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