April 16, 2024

La Ronge Northerner

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Drug Insurance |  Ottawa always wants to move forward

Drug Insurance | Ottawa always wants to move forward

(Montreal) Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland unveiled the first phase of a national drug insurance plan in Toronto on Saturday, which includes contraceptives and prescription diabetes drugs.

Minister Freeland held a press conference with Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Yara Sachs at a downtown dispensary in the Queen City.

The details, released Saturday, follow the introduction of a bill last February on a national and universal pharmacare plan as a result of an agreement with the New Democratic Party (NDP). The government had previously announced universal, single-payer coverage for contraceptives and diabetes drugs through agreements with provinces.

“Women can make their own choices when it comes to their health and bodies. Our program to provide free access to the most widely used contraceptives, such as birth control pills and IUDs, as well as emergency oral contraceptives, will give freedom of choice to nine million Canadian women,” Minister Freeland said in a press release.

There should be no price for this freedom.

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance, in a press release

The drug insurance scheme will be included in the central government's budget 2024, which will be presented on April 16.

In addition to the initial list of drugs, the bill establishes several next steps and timelines that are intended to push the government toward a broader drug coverage program.

On February 29, federal Health Minister Mark Holland indicated that Bill C-64 would be conditional on the signing of bilateral agreements that would expand existing coverage of the public drug insurance program.

The government also announced that it does not intend to provide full compensation if provinces or territories decide to opt out of the national drug insurance program.

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The Quebec government has already indicated it will defend the jurisdiction granted by the constitution.

With information from Michel Saba, The Canadian Press