(Fredericton, NB) – The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is supportive of Health Minister Boudreau’s decision to comprehensively review the New Brunswick Drug Plan and repeal sections of the Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act that would have made participation mandatory on April 1, 2015.

The Fredericton chamber has been actively participating in the government’s consultation process since 2011 and are keen to fully participate in a review in whatever form it takes.

“The plan as enacted in December 2013 would have been a burden on the citizens and businesses that could least afford it,” said Krista Ross, chamber CEO. “Our members have consistently told us that if they were able to afford a drug or health plan for their employees, they would have purchased one privately already. The fact that only 2,400 people have voluntarily signed up for the plan to date does suggest that the intended consumers of the plan also feel that it is unaffordable. Our members that are currently able to offer a plan will be pleased that the mandatory minimums mandated in the original legislation are also removed. The plan that they offer today will now still be valid on an ongoing basis.”

What started as a plan to create catastrophic drug coverage turned into a universal plan that was ‘catastrophic’ in name only.

“The plan itself only covered about half of the drugs that are on the chamber of commerce plan, for example,” added Joseph O’Donnell, chamber president. “Continuing to call it a catastrophic plan or a universal plan in the form it took in the enabling legislation was not accurate. Looking at other provinces, we could create a true catastrophic plan for roughly the same cost as the government subsidy portion of the New Brunswick Drug Plan. We think that by working together, we can find a better way to achieve the objectives and intent of the plan, which are undoubtedly laudable.”

The chamber met with Minister Boudreau today as part of the New Brunswick Employers Coalition to provide feedback on the changes announced in the legislature yesterday.

“In addition to supporting the changes announced yesterday, we made clear that the chamber would like to continue to be an engaged stakeholder on this file,” added Ross. “We also encouraged the government to fully pursue opportunities with other provinces in terms of regional cooperation on a plan or with purchasing drugs at a reduced cost as the Premier suggested last week. Finding efficiencies such as this will allow the government to invest in other areas which may improve the economy.”

The Fredericton chamber will continue to work with the Department of Health, our members, the New Brunswick Coalition of employers and other stakeholders on this issue.

Contact: Krista Ross, Chamber CEO (506) 458­8006
With more than 900 members, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is New Brunswick’s largest chamber of commerce. A dynamic business organization, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is actively engaged in policy development that affects the competitiveness of our members and of the Canadian business environment.

P.O. Box 275, 364 York Street, Suite 200, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, E3B 4Y9
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website: www.frederictonchamber.ca
Tel: 5064588006  Fax: 506 4511119