NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the phramacare deal his party reached with the Liberals will help Canadians afford their prescriptions and bring down inflation at the same time.

On Friday, the NDP said it reached a deal with the Liberals for the first piece of pharmacare legislation, which includes coverage for birth control and diabetes medication.

Under the legislation, Canadians would have access to full coverage for birth control, including IUDs and emergency contraception, and coverage for all insulin drugs for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

 “We said very clearly that we wanted to make sure people could get some hope when it comes to the cost of medication,” Singh told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview on Friday. “One in four Canadians can’t afford to take the medication they need. They skip their pills or they stretch out the medication or they just don't fill the prescription at all.”

“We're really proud to say not only have we locked in the legislation to move forward on universal pharmacare, but we also have a commitment to cover two classes of drugs, contraceptives and diabetes medication.”

The legislation was a key part of a pact between the Liberals and NDP. It comes just before the March 1 deadline. 

Singh said the program will require some negotiating with the provinces, similar to the way the federal government reached separate deals with each province concerning child daycare services.

“We'll push for that to happen as soon as possible, but like B.C. has done already, where you go into a pharmacy with your prescription and your birth control, contraceptives, IUD is all covered similarly, we'll have that happen across the country,” he added.

“It's going to require negotiating with provinces, but we're confident we can make this happen now.”

A full national pharmacare program is expected to cost about $40 billion per year.

While many economists worry excess government spending drives inflation higher, Singh believes a pharmacare program will help keep inflation down.

“We look at the cost of medication, that's something that is very costly (and) continues to rise,” he said.

“This is going to help save some money. It's going to save money for women and for people that need access to contraceptives. It's going to save money for people that have to take life-saving insulin and other medication to deal with diabetes… It's an investment that's going to bring down the cost of medication as well.”

Additionally, Singh believes cutting government contracting and investments in the oil and gas industry will help cover the costs.

“We could cut back on those types of investments, or those types of expenditures that are not good, that are wasteful and instead make investments like in pharmacare, which would help bring down the cost for medication,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press