Alberta seniors’ group sends Pharmacare petitions to federal Health Minister



A Federation of seniors’ organizations in Alberta is forwarding an initial batch of petitions to Canada’s Minister of Health, the Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, asking her to implement a universal prescription drug plan that meets the needs of all Canadians, regardless of income, age or location.

Lucien Royer, head of the Alberta Federation of Union Retirees (AFUR), today mailed 45 signed petition sheets calling on the Government of Canada to work with provincial and territorial governments to bring in a program that would place pharmaceuticals under a single-payer health care system similar to the Medicare system that was enacted in 1984. AFUR is the provincial arm of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC), which is affiliated to the Canadian Labour Congress.

“Our purpose in forwarding this first lot of signatures is to alert the Federal Minister to the fact that Alberta’s seniors are not only concerned about the negative effects that our current market system is having on access to prescription drugs; they are actively engaged in a campaign to do something about it,” says Royer.

“We are one of a growing number of organisations and social movements across the country determined to achieve a universal prescription plan that would ensure accessibility, universality, portability and other features of a comprehensive plan. These are the focal points in a campaign we have launched under the direction of a working group that brings together a broad range of organizations, from seniors to unions to public interest coalitions, reflecting the fact that over 90 per cent of our population believes a universal drug plan should be part of our public health care system.

“While we are encouraged by recent reports of movement in this direction, we are concerned that the political process may result in changes that are piecemeal and incomplete, and that fail to respond to the real needs Canadians have.

“In our Petition, we remind the Minister that Canada is the only developed country in the world with a universal single-payer health program which does not include a universal drug plan. Instead, we have a multiple-payer system that drug companies have taken advantage of to impose some of the highest prices in the world, second only to the United States.

“As a result, far too many Canadians either cannot afford to buy their prescription drugs, or are compromising on their use. Moreover, the high cost of drugs administered in hospitals and other care facilities is also placing undue pressure on our Medicare system.

“Universal access to prescription drugs was an integral component of the original comprehensive health care plan that Tommy Douglas envisioned for Canada. It is long overdue, and we ask the Government of Canada to act swiftly and decisively to make it a reality.

For further information on AFUR and the Pharmacare Campaign contact:

Lucien Royer, AFUR at 780-991-2264 or e-mail
Judy Lederer, CURC – Edmonton at 780-434-1690 or e-mail

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