ontario news watch

Pharmacare bill passes in the House of Commons, heads to the Senate

OTTAWA — The Liberals’ pharmacare bill is headed to the Senate after passing third reading in the House of Commons.

The bill was the result of careful and lengthy negotiations between the Liberals and the New Democrats as a key element of their political pact to prevent an early election.

The legislation would see the federal government offer first-payer coverage of some contraceptive and diabetes medications, and sets the stage for a future full-fledged universal pharmacare program.

It’s not yet clear exactly what drugs will be covered, since they will be the subject of negotiations with provincial and territorial governments.

Once the bill is passed, Health Minister Mark Holland can begin those formal negotiations with provinces and territories to deliver the program, which is expected to cost $1.5 billion over five years.

The goal is that Canadians will be able to access the contraceptive or diabetes drugs or supplies by showing their health card, whether they have insurance coverage or not.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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