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431-00054 (Health)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

We the undersigned residents of the province of British Columbia draw to the attention to the Government of Canada the following: Whereas: the cost of prescription medications and necessary medical supplies are excessive and vary greatly between provinces and territories; the cost of prescriptions and medical supplies continue to rise every year, and many Canadians cannot afford to buy their medications and/or medical supplies and also provide for their food and shelter. Therefore, your petitioners request the Government of Canada develop a comprehensive Pan-Canada single payer and Universal Program that ensures that all Canadians are able to access prescribed and necessary medications and medical supplies regardless of their ability to pay.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Darren Fisher

We are committed to strengthening Canada’s health care system and to supporting the health of Canadians. No Canadian should have to choose between paying for prescription drugs and putting food on the table, yet many are still forced to make this impossible decision.

That is why we are committed to working with provinces, territories and stakeholders to continue to implement national universal pharmacare so that Canadians have the drug coverage they need. As part of Budget 2019, the Government of Canada announced the next critical steps towards the implementation of national pharmacare. This includes the establishment of a Canada Drug Agency, a national formulary and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.

Additionally, as a foundational step towards national pharmacare, the Government of Canada recently modernized the way patented drug prices are regulated in Canada by amending the Patented Medicines Regulations. Implementation of this modernized regulatory framework will enable the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board to better protect Canadian consumers from excessive prices of patented medicines. These amendments are expected to lower drug prices in Canada, which are approximately 25% higher than international peers, and save Canadians $13.2 billion over the next 10 years. The amendments were published in Canada Gazette, Part II on August 21, 2019 and are available at:         

The federal government is also working with the provinces and territories as an active member of the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA). The pCPA combines governments’ collective buying power to negotiate lower prices on brand name drugs for all public plans, and sets the price point for many generic drugs. As of December 31, 2019, the pCPA has completed more than 343 joint brand drug negotiations and achieved price reductions on nearly 70 of the most commonly prescribed generic drugs. As of April 1, 2019 the pCPA was estimated to have achieved approximately $2.26 billion in annual cost savings for public drug plans.

Through these actions, we continue to work with provincial and territorial governments and other key partners to improve the affordability and accessibility of needed prescription drugs.


Presented to the House of Commons
Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay)
February 3, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00054)
Government response tabled
April 11, 2020
Photo - Richard Cannings
South Okanagan—West Kootenay
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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