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Dr. Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, issued the following statement today in response to the Final Report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.

“The Canadian Chamber is concerned about the advisory council’s recommendation that the federal government establish a single-payer system of prescription drug coverage in Canada. Canadians want governments to provide coverage to those who needs it – the uninsured and underinsured – not those who already have coverage.

Canadian employers urge the government to carefully reflect on the millions of Canadians who would lose access to medications they have under their current plans and consider the impact of a single-payer system on federal finances.

With this report, the advisory council has sidestepped its responsibility to find an affordable way for governments to raise the revenue needed to fund the $15 billion annual cost of its proposed approach. The final report itself states: “we consulted widely and can report with certainty there is no easy answer to how to pay for national pharmacare.”

The advisory council mistakenly believes the average business will save $750 per employee per year under its proposed system. The idea that a single-payer system will relieve employers of an important cost pressure is simply not true. A single-payer plan will likely result in increased deficits and taxes, both of which are not in the interest of employers or Canadians.

While ensuring all Canadians have pharmacare access is a laudable goal, any national program must be designed in a way that is fiscally sustainable and does not crowd out the comprehensive coverage options offered by private/group plans. Employers support an approach to national pharmacare that fills in the gaps in the existing system to ensure that no Canadian lacks access to the medicines they need.”

For more information, please see our submission to the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.

 

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Contact:

Phil Taylor

Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

613.238.4000 (2231)

Email: ptaylor@chamber.ca (preferred and quickest response time)