Statement: World Health Day
April 7, 2019
Join me in celebrating World Health Day. Over the past 50 years, the World Health Organization has used this day to attract worldwide attention to important global health issues. This year’s theme focuses on universal health coverage and the right to access essential health services without discrimination or financial hardship.
In Canada, we are proud of our universal health care system and we strongly believe in helping our friends, neighbours, families and communities. It is that value that acts as a foundation for our health care system, which is also based on fairness and equity. Simply put—our health care system reflects who we are as Canadians.
Medicare is one of our most cherished national symbols but that does not mean that our system is perfect. We know that too many Canadians struggle to pay for the prescription drugs they need to lead healthier lives. In fact, Canadians face some of the highest drug costs in the world and drug coverage is uneven across the country.
That’s why Budget 2019 takes concrete steps towards the implementation of national pharmacare, because wealth should not be a requirement for good health. In other words, Canadians should never have to choose between putting food on the table and buying the prescription drugs they need.
We are at the beginning of this journey. This year, in Budget 2019, the Government of Canada announced its intention to move forward, in partnership with the provinces, territories and stakeholders on the creation of a Canadian Drug Agency that will assess the effectiveness of new prescription drugs; negotiate better drug prices; and recommend which drugs represent the best value for money for Canadians. We will also develop a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases. I think we can all agree that parents of children with rare diseases should not have to worry about how to pay for the treatments their children need.
Today, let’s reflect on the progress we’ve made and chart a course for a healthier Canada. I am very passionate about the work that is being done and proud of our progressive policies and ambitious vision for the future.
Happy World Health Day!
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health