TORONTO – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced Saturday that she’ll create the province’s first universal Pharmacare plan – a commitment to ensure all Ontarians can afford the medicine they’re prescribed.
“You shouldn’t have to empty your wallet to get the medicine you need,” said Horwath. “No family should have to rack up credit card debt to treat an illness. And no one should ever go without the treatment they need because of cost.”
One in four Ontarians doesn’t take their medication as prescribed because of cost, and 2.2 million Ontarians have no prescription drug coverage at all. With a growing number of people working non-traditional or unstable jobs, or finding it more difficult to land a job that comes with some benefits, the cost of medications is a growing struggle.
“There are many in Ontario who split their pills in half to make the bottle last longer,” said Horwath. “Or they leave the doctor’s office with a prescription they need, knowing they’ll never fill it because of the price.
“Imagine if everyone could take their medication without the barrier of cost. We can help people live healthier, less stressful lives. We can make their month a little more affordable. And by preventing emergency room trips, we can improve people’s lives, and also relieve the strain on our overcrowded hospitals.”
Horwath, who made the announcement at an NDP convention on Saturday, will reveal details of her plan Monday morning.
“My plan is affordable, and when we think of the risk to people’s health from skipping their medication – even the risk to their lives – it’s clear that we can’t afford not to implement universal prescription Pharmacare,” said Horwath. “This plan will mean lower cost, less worry and better health for everyone.”