NDP Call to Cover Costs of Pharmacare to During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 30, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB — The Official Opposition is calling on the provincial government to cover the costs of prescription refills for Manitobans on Pharmacare for the next sixty days.

“Thousands of Manitobans, many of them seniors, will be forced to pay out of pocket for drugs over the next two months because of a provincial government decision,” said NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara. “While we understand the need to ensure a consistent supply of medication, no senior budgeted for this expense and it’s vital we support seniors in this difficult time.”

In March the provincial government imposed a limit on prescription refills to a one-month supply in order to prevent stockpiling. One consequence of this policy change is that thousands of Pharmacare clients who purchase two months’ worth of medication at the end of March ahead of their annual deductible payment on April 1st will have to pay out of pocket for this unexpected expense.

Pharmacare clients are expected to pay a deductible based on their 2019/20 levels starting April 1st. A Pharmacare deductible is calculated based on a client’s total household income and the amount they pay for eligible prescription drugs.

Asagwara noted that seniors and vulnerable populations will face greater health risks if they have to return to a pharmacy for a refill. Asagwara and the Manitoba NDP is urging the provincial government to cover Pharmacare deductibles for the next sixty days, so that clients can avoid paying out of pocket for drugs.

The Official Opposition remains committed to supporting the efforts of Government to fight COVID-19.