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People in Canada are another step closer to getting access to life-saving medicines with their health cards, rather than their credit cards.

Yesterday, the Pharmacare Act (Bill C-64) passed third reading in the House of Commons, despite Conservative attempts to obstruct the legislation. It is now headed to the Senate, which will review the bill before it becomes law.

Congratulations to all Council of Canadians chapters, supporters, and allies who have been organizing for pharmacare. This is our collective win!

Read more about what comes next

Make no mistake: the passage of Bill C-64 is a defeat for Big Pharma and its allies. While the program is starting small, the framework of the Pharmacare Act opens the way for a fully public, single-payer pharmacare system that will lower drug prices and ensure everyone has access to the medicines they need. After years of government inaction, this is a huge accomplishment.

But we can’t rest on our laurels.

Once the bill gets through the Senate, negotiations will begin with provincial and territorial governments to reach bilateral agreements. Corporate opponents of pharmacare see these negotiations as a key opportunity to stall pharmacare’s rollout or to subvert it to their own ends.

We need to put pressure on premiers to negotiate in good faith, instead of playing politics with people’s health. And we’ll need to ensure that the program gets rolled out and expanded as soon as possible – our best chance of protecting it from Conservatives who want to take it all away.

Read more about how we'll keep the momentum going