Implementing Universal Access to Necessary Medicines

Moved by National Caucus, LPC(BC), LPC(O)


  • the United Nations and the World Health Organization have declared that all nations should ensure universal access to necessary medicines and Canada does not;
  • drug coverage is a fundamental component of receiving proper medical treatment and individuals should have access regardless of financial ability;
  • Canada’s public and private drug plans leave many patients with little or no coverage, resulting in 1 out of 10 patients not taking their prescribed medication;
  • a moderate increase in public spending would reduce the burden on employers, unions, and private insurers;
  • a recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Office, estimates that Pharmacare would save Canadians between $4 billion and $11 billion per year;
  • there have been repeated calls to include prescription drugs in Canada’s universal health care system, including:
    • Royal Commission on Health Services (1964, chair Justice Emmett Hall)
    • National Forum on Health (1997, chair Prime Minister Jean Chrétien),
    • Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (2002, chair Roy Romanow),
    • Citizens Reference Panel on Pharmacare (2016, chair Peter MacLeod),
    • Several national organisations including Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Medical Association, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • “Pharmacare 2020: The future of drug coverage in Canada” (UBC 2015)
  • the Liberal Party of Canada adopted a priority resolution at the 2016 National Convention to implement a National Pharmacare plan before 2019;

BE IT RESOLVED the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to:

  • amend the Canada Health Act by adding, ‘prescription medicines prescribed by a licensed practitioner in accordance with an established formulary’ to the definition of covered services;

develop, with provincial and territorial cooperation, a universal, single-payer, evidence-based, and sustainable public drug plan, with purchasing power to secure best available pricing, beginning with a list of essential medicines addressing priority health needs and expanding to a comprehensive permanent plan to promote the health and well-being of all Canadians.

All Policy Resolutions