FIFE: Families Shouldn’t Have to Wait for Pharmacare in Ontario

QUEEN’S PARK – The Wynne Liberal government refuses to commit to a universal Pharmacare program in Ontario – and MPP Catherine Fife (Kitchener-Waterloo) asked the premier Wednesday why families like the Thurleys should have to stretch their finances to the breaking point to protect their health.

“Families that are getting sick are being forced to make decisions that no Ontarian should have to make,” said Fife. “New Democrats have a bold plan to fix this for everyone – and it’s shameful that the Wynne Liberals and the Conservatives won’t get on board.”

Kitchener resident Peter Thurley had a series of surgeries that saved his life in 2015. But he’s now paying between $700 and $1,000 every month out of pocket for the medications he needs to continue his recovery. Peter cannot work while he’s recovering, and he’s run out of drug coverage.

“Every dollar my family spends on medication is coming directly out of our food budget,” said Thurley. “Pharmacare in Ontario would mean I can focus my energies on making a full recovery instead of counting pennies to pay for medications that I need just to get through the day.”

One in four Ontarians doesn’t take their medication because of cost, and 2.2 million Ontarians have no prescription drug coverage at all. That number is expected to get worse as unstable and non-traditional work grows in Ontario.

‘’Our Pharmacare program would start by covering 125 medications for common ailments like asthma inhalers, diabetes and high blood pressure medication,’’ said Fife.

The cost is estimated by the NDP and experts not to exceed $475 million – or one-third of one per cent of the provincial budget.

“Getting access to life-saving medications isn’t going to get easier unless Ontario does something. Liberal governments in Ottawa and at Queen’s Park are waiting instead of acting to help families like Peter’s,” said Fife. “New Democrats are ready to act on Pharmacare.”