UNA asks Minister Adriana LaGrange to reconsider pharmacare stance

United Nurses of Alberta is asking Minister of Health Adriana LaGrange to reconsider her recent statement declaring that the Alberta government will not participate in a national pharmacare plan.

“Alberta’s nurses have long supported calls for a national prescription drug program that ensures every Albertan has access to the medication they need without having to reach for their credit card,” said UNA President Heather Smith.

The national pharmacare plan announced by the federal government last week would initially include coverage of birth control and diabetes medication, and create a fund for critically needed diabetic equipment for Canadians.

“Every day, nurses across the province provide care for patients who don’t have private health benefit coverage and struggle to afford the costs of prescription drugs,” Smith said. “Patients unable to pay for expensive prescription drugs don’t get healthier and risk ending up in the hospital because of it.”

“Minister LaGrange owes it to millions of Albertans who would benefit from this program to wait for further details before dismissing it outright,” Smith said.

Shortfalls in prescription drug coverage result in daily deaths and illness among people with treatable conditions – a grim fact reported in the 2018 Body Count study prepared by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.