Weekly Top Stories: Council of Canadians Calls for Universal Pharmacare Program; and $1.6 Million Allocated for Enhanced SRH Services

Published on
October 2, 2023
Written by
Delphic Research
Read time
5 min

In the past week, we've witnessed significant events with far-reaching implications for the life sciences sector. These developments touch on crucial aspects of healthcare and medication access in Canada, as well as concerns about the state of healthcare services in specific regions.

The Council of Canadians has addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister, federal Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, and federal Minister of Health Mark Holland. They are urging the federal government to establish a comprehensive, publicly funded pharmacare program in Canada. Their emphasis lies in the fact that approximately 11% of the Canadian population, which accounts for over 3.4 million adults, is grappling with the challenge of affording their medications, often forcing them into difficult choices between necessities like food, rent, and prescription drugs.

The letter underscores the imperative need for a universal, public, and comprehensive pharmacare program, in line with the principles of Canadian medicare. The Council firmly opposes an industry-driven "fill-the-gaps" approach, arguing that it would leave many Canadians without affordable medication access and inadequately address the issue of escalating drug costs.

This call to action comes at a time of concerning drug shortages in Canada, particularly in generic drug production, which has declined by 34% since 2019, despite generics constituting three-quarters of all prescribed drugs in the country. To address this issue, a step towards increasing the local production of these medications is needed. Challenges in sourcing raw materials globally have contributed to these shortages, despite the presence of pharmaceutical giants like Apotex in Toronto and Pharmascience in Montreal.

In a move to enhance access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, the federal government has allocated more than $1.6 million in funding to The Endometriosis Network Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC). This funding announcement coincided with World Contraception Day last September 26th.

In other news, Carla Beck, the leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party, has voiced concerns expressed by constituents during her party's summer outreach efforts. People have reported difficulties in accessing healthcare services, including finding family doctors and encountering extended wait times for specialist appointments and surgeries. Ms. Beck has criticized the Saskatchewan Party for presenting an overly optimistic view of the province's economic and social conditions, highlighting the contrasting realities faced by residents, such as increased reliance on food banks. The Saskatchewan legislature is scheduled to reconvene on October 25th.

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