New Brunswick’s Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners know all too well the costs created by the gaps in this country’s patchwork drug coverage. We see it every day in our hospitals, clinics, home care settings and long-term care facilities – patients with uncontrolled diabetes deteriorate, students suffer from unmanaged anxiety and depression, and as a result, the human and financial costs associated for treatment are enormous. It is estimated that 20% of New Brunswickers lack any form of drug coverage, roughly the same numbers as Canadians at large, but our health outcomes are far more acute than in many parts of the country.
In 2017, the annual rise in the Health Canada transfer payments that flow to New Brunswick and other provinces were reduced by 50%. Unless some great change takes place, New Brunswick is ill-equipped to deal with the tidal wave of aging and ill-health that is on the way.
A 2019 national poll, conducted by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) found that 87% of Canadians support everyone having equal access to prescription drugs, regardless of their income level. 85% believe it’s worth investing in a national Pharmacare system today, if it will lower healthcare costs in the future. Yet, Canada remains the only country with a universal healthcare system that doesn’t include some form of universal drug coverage.
New Brunswick’s Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners continue to advocate for a universal Pharmacare program to be publicly administered, it must be a single-payer system that can effectively leverage bulk buying, and there must be a national formulary so that every Canadian has the same coverage no matter the province you live in. The days of making choices between paying rent, buying groceries or paying for prescription drugs must end.
As we turn our attention to the solutions, we must also be reminded that Canada remains the only country in the world with universal healthcare that does not provide universal drug coverage. A national Pharmacare plan that aligns seamlessly with Medicare is a common-sense solution to high prescription drug costs and financial barriers.
We support CFNU in their push for a national Pharmacare program. Find out more