The NDP say their pharmacare plan could save the average Canadian without drug coverage more than $500 a year. (The Javorac/Flickr)

NDP unveils universal pharmacare plan, aims program delivery by the end of 2020

Party says plan would save families who don’t currently have private drug coverage an average $550 per year

The NDP is promising to bring in a universal and comprehensive national pharmacare program targeted to begin in 2020 if the party wins the next federal election.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced details of the pharmacare plan today with health critic Don Davies at an event in Coquitlam, B.C.

The party says the plan would see every Canadian covered for a list of prescription drugs determined by an arms-length group of experts that it says would be protected from industry and political pressure.

The party says the plan would save families who don’t currently have private drug coverage an average $550 per year and it would save employers about $600 per employee with extended health benefits

The legislation would be modeled on the Canada Health Act and provide an annual pharmacare transfer to the provinces and territories, with provinces paying about 60 per cent of the total cost and the federal government providing the remaining 40 per cent.

Davies, who represents Vancouver Kingsway, says the cost to provinces will be about the same as they are paying now.

An analysis from the parliamentary budget officer says the total cost of a national pharmacare program would be $23.7 billion in 2020, representing a $4.2 billion savings each year over the current amount being spent on drugs in Canada.

Last week, Singh said an NDP government would expand the tax on investment profits as part of a package of measures aimed to pay for pharmacare, affordable child care and housing.

“Those measures would free up billions that would be available for this as well. The rest of financing would be a matter of discussion between the federal government and provinces and territories,” Davies said.

The federal government taxes 50 per cent of profits made on investments, also known as capital gains, but the NDP wants to increase that threshold — known as the inclusion rate — to 75 per cent. It says that would raise about $3 billion in revenue.

READ MORE: Canada needs new agency to oversee pharmacare program, panel says

The New Democrats have also talked about closing a stock-option loophole and cracking down on the use of bearer shares and foreign tax havens, which they say help the rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes to society.

In its budget last month, the Liberal government said Canada’s patchwork of drug coverage, which comprises more than 100 public programs and 100,000 private insurance plans, is not well equipped to handle the increasingly expensive drugs now coming to market.

Drug spending in Canada is expected to surpass $50 billion by 2028, an expert panel has found.

In the budget, the Liberals promised a new agency to negotiate prescription drug prices for Canadians to try and drive down costs, a move it billed as an “important step” on the path to an eventual national pharmacare plan. It also promised to build a national formulary and promised to spend $500 million a year, starting in 2022, to subsidize drugs that treat rare diseases.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Talks with hereditary chiefs run into the night

Ministers expected to make statement Saturday morning

Mohawks propose temporary Indigenous police for Wet’suwet’en territory

The RCMP has already committed to ending patrols along a critical roadway

Talks with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs enter second day

Federal and provincial ministers ready to extend discussions

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

Work will stop once Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs begin talks with province and feds

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read