20 Feb Media Release: Senior’s Pharmacare

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Province makes right move on Seniors Pharmacare, now time to pressure Federal Government

Halifax, NS – The province has made the right decision by not increasing the fees and giving seniors more payment options for the Senior’s Pharmacare Program but it is no substitute for first-dollar coverage with no co-pay or deductible.  Now is the time to join other provinces in calling for the federal government to implement a National Pharmacare Program, says the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network.

“The province decided not to increase the fees associated with the Senior’s Pharmacare Program this year, which will be a comfort to Nova Scotia seniors, especially those living on limited incomes, but it is not a substitute for a program based on need, not ability to pay” says Kyle Buott, Coordinator of the Health Network.  “Now is the time for Nova Scotia to join other provinces, like Ontario and Newfoundland, in calling on the federal government to take an increased role in providing Pharmacare.”

The Health Network held a forum in November as part of the National Pharmacare Hearings conducted by the Canadian Health Coalition.  At the forum, the Network heard from many individuals about the effects of the cost of prescription drugs.  Some individuals noted that it can be a decision to pay the rent, buy food, or buy the prescription drugs they need.  The Nova Scotia Federation of Union Retirees and the Network plan to hold more of these forums over the coming months in rural areas to gather more stories about the need for Pharmacare.

“The government’s proposed Family’s Pharmacare Plan and Senior’s Pharmacare Program do not go far enough in providing first-dollar coverage with no deductible or co-pay,” says Buott.  “Nova Scotia can only do so much on its own, which is why we should join the growing choir of provinces calling on the federal government to take a larger role in moving towards a National Pharmacare Program.”

In 2005, the Canadian Health Coalition release a position paper entitled “More for Less – Pharmacare: A National Drug Plan”.  The paper was updated in September of 2007 and is available at http://www.healthcoalition.ca/mfl2007.pdf

“In the More for Less paper, we made the case for a National Pharmacare Program.  The funds exist at the federal level and the province needs to start pressuring the federal government.” says Buott.  “Canada is one of the few developed countries without some form of National Pharmacare Program and that is unacceptable for a country that has had huge federal surpluses since the late 1990s.”

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For more information please contact:

Kyle Buott
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network
Work – (902) 406-9422
Cell – (902) 478-0239

About the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network:

Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network’s goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.

The Network is a coalition of community groups, organized labour, faith groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and advancing public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care and long-term and home care.

The Network is political but non-partisan and receives no government funding.