Universal pharmacare in New Brunswick

Saint John, September 11, 2018 – Today, Jennifer McKenzie announces the NDP plan for universal pharmacare in New Brunswick.

One in five New Brunswickers have no prescription drug coverage, and over a quarter of Atlantic Canadians have admitted to rationing an existing prescription or not filling or renewing a prescription in the last 12 months because they could not afford it. The NDP believes it’s time to make medicine affordable for all New Brunswickers.

Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office estimates that $503 million is spent on prescription drugs in New Brunswick each year—$300 million by various private plan insurers and uninsured individuals, and $203 million by the province. Income-based drug coverage plans—especially those with big deductibles—undermine access to essential medicines. They force people to pay out-of-pocket for routine medicines. Not surprisingly, some people neglect to take preventative medication for conditions like heart attacks and strokes because they cannot afford the expense.

”New Brunswickers who get sick and end up in emergency rooms because they cannot afford prescription drugs can lead to outcomes such as longer wait times for everyone else. In the end, we all pay the social cost of neglecting prevention. In fact, the lack of preventative healthcare treatment costs the Canadian government as much as $9 billion every year.” – Jennifer McKenzie

Our plan for universal pharmacare in New Brunswick : 

The NDP fully supports a national universal pharmacare plan that is cost shared by federal and provincial governments. An NDP government will push hard on the national level for such a plan. In the mean time, we will implement a “Made in New Brunswick” universal pharmacare plan.

We will invest $50 million to establish universal coverage, including everyone in New Brunswick who is not covered by an existing insurance plan. All prescription drugs currently listed on the New Brunswick Drug Plan Formulary will be covered. All those currently covered by the New Brunswick Drug Plan and the New Brunswick Prescription Drug Program will not lose any coverage. The $50 Million investment will take New Brunswicks share of the total cost of pharmacare up to 50%.

In our first year of government, we will study various funding options that will allow New Brunswick to have a universal pharmacare plan at a reasonable cost. We will examine the best way to pay for this program from three sources:

  • The province pays 50%

  • Individuals: employees, self-employed, retired and those who are not in the workforce

  • Employers