By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The City of Oshawa has joined the chorus of municipal voices asking the federal government to consider a national pharmacare plan.
In an attempt to combat the growing cost of prescription drugs and the increasing burden it is placing on Canadians, representatives from Canadian Doctors for Medicare appeared before city council to urge councillors to support a call for municipalities to show support for a national pharmacare plan in order to get the federal government’s attention.
“One in 10 Canadians do not fill a prescription because they can not afford their medications, so something needs to be changed,” said Yuchen Li, a medical student at the University of Toronto.
The organization says that a national pharmacare plan would benefit not only Canadians in need of drugs, but municipalities as well, citing a recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that determined Canadian taxpayers could $7.3 billion a year, while municipalities could also save approximately $500 million a year if the federal government were to aid with employee benefit drug plans.
“The federal government needs to step up and we need to have a national discussion,” said Councillor Amy England.
Oshawa has joined a group of more than 13 Canadian municipalities, including Red Deer and Vancouver, who have put their support behind the motion.
Councillor Dan Carter stressed the importance such a national plan would have for Canadian seniors, many of which are on fixed incomes.
Carter referenced many calls from local seniors who are letting prescriptions go unfilled or cutting back on their medication use because they can not fit the costs into theirs slim budgets.
“It shows that we can do better,” Carter said. “This concept…I think needs to be a discussion that our federal government takes seriously.”
As part of the city’s motion, which makes a call to the province, as well as to other provinces and the federal government, Oshawa is also calling on the the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to adopt a similar resolution toward the federal government.