Midweek podcast: Where is the pharmacare debate heading?

On The House midweek podcast, Chris Hall asks Linda Silas of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions what she would like to see emerge from the pharmacare plan development debate.
Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, says the current provincial versions of pharmacare wouldn't be effective for a national strategy. (CBC)
Listen to the full episode10:05

A national pharmacare strategy should be based in fact and not swayed by partisan voices, according to the president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

Earlier this month, an all-party parliamentary committee delivered a report recommending a universal, single-payer system.

Linda Silas told The House she agreed that this would be her preference for implementing pharmacare, but there are other important elements to remember.

"What is important is that the formula be based on science," she said.

None of the provinces' current health care plans are the right fit, she continued.

"We need to do it better and we need to make sure we have one plan."

Pharmacare was the top priority resolution that emerged from the Liberal Party policy convention in Halifax last weekend.

It was one of 15 that remained after debates over 30 proposed resolutions.

"Right now we think we have the public support," Silas said, explaining Canadians have realized the need for pharmacare as drugs get more expensive.

Last year, the Parliamentary Budget Officer concluded $4.2 billion annually would be saved on prescriptions if Canadians were covered under pharmacare.

Silas said the work being done by parliament is shifting from study to action — signaling the stars might finally align to finalize a national pharmacare plan.

"I think they're serious," she said. "I believe we don't have a choice."

On The House midweek podcast, Chris Hall asks Linda Silas of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions what she would like to see emerge from the pharmacare development debate. 10:05