Health minister says he aims to launch national pharmacare program by next April

OTTAWA — Health Minister Mark Holland says he hopes to launch a national pharmacare program by April 1, 2025.

A pharmacare bill drafted by the Liberals and the NDP has made its way through the House of Commons, but still needs to be studied by the Senate.

The idea is to make birth control and diabetes medication available to anyone with a health card as part of a universal, single-payer program.

The Liberals budgeted $1.5 billion for the program over five years.

Once the bill receives royal assent, Holland can start negotiating deals with provinces and territories to administer the program.

But he says he's not waiting until then to start talking to his provincial and territorial counterparts about what those deals could look like.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press