Privitization won't kick start the Canadian Economy
In the months ahead, the federal government will chart a course for Canada’s economic recovery, while also dealing with the ongoing pandemic. CUPE is calling on the federal government to keep privatization out of the country’s pandemic recovery plans. Investing in public programs and services is the fastest, most cost-effective and reliable way to boost the economy and support us all through tough times. Click here to read more.
Private Corporations Challenge Government Over Drug Prices - a challenge to Pharacare?
Five pharmaceutical companies said they have filed a complaint in a Canadian court challenging the constitutionality of new Canadian regulations meant to lower patented drug prices, setting up a fight with the federal government. All five firms said the 10 provinces have always had the authority to regulate the prices of medicines, not the federal government, who may have proposed this legislation to lay the ground work for the creation of a national Pharmacare program. Click here for more info.
In other ironic news, Johnson & Johnson (whose parent company Janssen is one of the 5 companies party to the complaint) was recently ordered to pay the State of Oklahoma over half a billion dollars US for the part it played in flooding the state with opioid prescriptions causing a crisis that killed citizens, destroyed families and wreaked havoc on communities. For more information on that story, click here.
In a bid to recoup health-care costs associated with opioid addiction in Canada, the B.C. government launched a class-action lawsuit last year against dozens of pharmaceutical companies alleging they falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs. A separate $1.1 billion class-action lawsuit was filed this spring in Ontario on behalf of alleged victims.
In Canada, the federal government's most recent figures estimate that opioids were related to the death of more than 11,500 people between 2016 and 2018.
How do rising interest rates affect workers?
Inflation in January 2022 reached a high of over 5 per cent. This is putting pressure on the Bank of Canada to increase interest rates.
Most economists think inflation is caused by too much money in the economy. Central banks try to solve this problem by raising interest rates. Raising interest rates makes borrowing money more expensive and increases returns on savings. This causes consumers and businesses to delay spending and to borrow less. As a result, there is less money moving around in the economy and inflation decreases.
However, the inflation we’re seeing today is not being fueled by an excess of money. It is the result of supply chain disruptions and pandemic uncertainty. For workers, this situation will only compound the negative effects of increased interest rates.
There are several ways rising interest rates may affect CUPE members. Click hereto read more.
Rising prices pad corporate profits
Workers seeking wage increases often get blamed for inflation, but right now people are asking questions about the role of corporate profits in rising prices.
Some large multinational corporations have been very open with their investors that price increases are resulting in higher revenue. In 2021, multinational Proctor & Gamble said that they needed to raise prices to offset increased costs and uncertainty. But in January 2022, they reported to shareholders that their revenue in the last three months of 2021 actually had been up 6 per cent from the year before. This news prompted their stock price to go up, leading to even more profit for senior executives and shareholders.
How can companies get away with higher than necessary price increases during a global pandemic? And why do they feel comfortable drawing attention to their skyrocketing profits? Click hereto find out more.
Universal Drug Plan
While we are all proud of our universal health care, Canada is the only developed country with universal health insurance that does not also offer universal prescription drug coverage. A common explanation for this hole is our system is that the cost of such a program would be prohibitive. Research is coming to light from some universities and stakeholders in the health care system that a nationwide pharmacare program could save Canadians billions of dollars and be cost neutral or even cost savings for governments. These cost savings can be realized due to the economies of scale taking into account drug price negotiations and better product selection. With drug costs rising quickly, sometimes even exponentially overnight, having a nationwide pharmacare system would place Canada in a better position to negotiate lower prices in the future for expensive treatments.
Five pharmaceutical companies said they have filed a complaint in a Canadian court challenging the constitutionality of new Canadian regulations meant to lower patented drug prices, setting up a fight with the federal government. All five firms said the 10 provinces have always had the authority to regulate the prices of medicines, not the federal government. Click here for more info.