Congress of Union Retirees of Canada

October 15, 2007 08:00 ET

Media Advisory/REMINDER/Congress of Union Retirees of Canada: Monday, October 15 at 8:00 p.m.

Union Retirees tackle soaring drug costs with Pharmacare plan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2007) - Retirees from across Canada, who are union members, will gather here next week to focus attention on spiraling drug costs and the need for Pharmacare to combat what they say is a "health care crisis in slow motion."

The Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC), representing some 500,000 trade union seniors, will get an update on their campaign for a national Pharmacare program as they begin a convention Monday night.

A convention policy paper calls for Pharmacare and targets the Harper government for contributing to high drug costs by further extending by eight years drug patent protection legislation.

The paper cites the case of the drug oxaliplatin, which was available in generic form for $500 for a 100 mg vial before the Harper government changed the rules. The drug, used to treat advanced colorectal cancer, now costs consumers $1,000 for a 100 mg vial.

"Some may ask why union members should care about an issue they can negotiate for their members," says Larry Wagg, CURC President. "It's the same reason we led the fight for Medicare. Everyone should have access to the drugs they need, irrespective of income. Without a good public national drug plan, negotiated benefits for retirees will be increasingly under attack as was shown in the recent UAW-Big Three Automakers negotiations."

More than 80 delegates will get well briefed on the issues by three health care authorities in a panel discussion on Monday night at 8 p.m.

They include: Penny Priddy, NDP MP for Surrey North; Jeff Connell, Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association and Mike McBane, Executive Director of the Canadian Health Coalition.

CURC is a national inter-generational, voluntary organization. It acts as an advocacy organization to ensure that the concerns of senior citizens are heard throughout Canada. CURC, established at a founding Convention in 1993, is chartered by the Canadian Labour Congress and includes members from 107 affiliated organizations.

The CURC Convention is being held at the Travel Lodge Hotel on Carling Avenue, October 15 to 17.

Contact Information

  • Congress of Union Retirees of Canada
    Larry Wagg, 613-226-6010 until noon on Saturday, October 13
    613-722-7601 from noon Saturday, October 13
    to Wednesday, October 17