We need elected leaders who resist Big Pharmas lobbying!

We need elected leaders who resist Big Pharma’s lobbying! r1 ... Election 2021 Dear Friend,

We’ve all witnessed the power of science and innovation to save lives during this global pandemic. But the pandemic has also made it clear that we can’t rely on the free market to get life-saving vaccines out of labs and into arms.

Rather than being treated as a public good that is accessible to all, COVID vaccines have become monopolized by a handful of large pharmaceutical companies amassing exorbitant profits, and they remain out of reach for billions of people worldwide. While roughly 60 per cent of people living in higher-income countries have received at least one COVID vaccine dose, that number sits at just one per cent in low-income nations.1

Meanwhile, countries like Canada have refused to support a waiver of intellectual property protections on vaccines, allowing pharmaceutical companies to keep dictating how they are manufactured, supplied, and distributed around the world.

The power of Big Pharma also explains why we have yet to get a national pharmacare program past the finish line here in Canada.

Canada is the only country with a universal health care system that doesn’t include prescription medication, and we pay some of the highest drug prices in the world. Despite decades of studies, commissions, and advisory bodies all demonstrating the social and economic benefits of pharmacare – and successive Liberal governments that have made pharmacare a central campaign promise – the idea has yet to turn into a reality.

Big Pharma’s corporate lobbyists have used their outsized power to stall or undermine pharmacare at every turn.

They have also aggressively targeted plans by the Liberal government to lower the price of patented drugs – a crucial step towards a publicly-paid national pharmacare program. And they have succeeded, so far. Caving in to their demands, the Trudeau government recently announced that it is once again postponing its plans to implement those drug-pricing regulations – for the third time.2

Our elected representatives must put the health of Canadians before the profits of Big Pharma.

Here are some of the key questions you can ask your local candidates to hold them accountable:
  1. Will you support an intellectual property waiver to ensure countries that don’t currently have the vaccine can manufacture and distribute it on their own?
  2. What will you do in the face of Big Pharma’s bullying tactics?
  3. What will you do to help get pharmacare across the finish line?
  4. Will you commit to legislation that lowers the cost of patented drugs?
For more background and analysis on these questions, read our explainer here. Read more If you’d like to see the questions we’ve compiled for candidates on other key election issues – climate, water, Indigenous rights, long-term care, and electoral reform – check out our pamphlet. You can print these questions and have them ready by your door for when candidates come asking for your vote.

In solidarity,

Donya Ziaee
Communications Officer (Research and Analysis), The Council of Canadians Help support our work! Our team is busy creating online resources with key questions for candidates and background to support this work. We’ll also lend a hand in writing letters to editors, and host calls and conversations with our Chapters and members to make sure they have what they need. r71 | Add us to your address book Facebook Twitter Instagram Website Copyright © 2021 Council of Canadians, All rights reserved.
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