Drug System Reforms

Myths Debunked



The government is saving money on the backs of patients.

Lowering generic drug prices will give people better access to cheaper medication, and create a more accountable health care system.

The savings will be re-invested in our health care system and used to cover more drugs.

Ending professional allowances means pricier drugs for patients.

Money paid to pharmacies by generic drug manufacturers for stocking their products inflates the cost of drugs.  That’s why Ontario has been paying some of the highest prices for generic drugs in the world.  That’s not fair.

Ending these payments, will lead to lower drug prices for generics.

Pharmacies can’t survive without these payments.

In 2009, a reported $750 million in professional allowances was paid to pharmacies by generic manufacturers.

This money is meant to support services for patients.  In 2009, pharmacies themselves reported that approximately 70 per cent of these went toward fringe benefits, bonuses, overhead costs and boosting profits.

During this same time period, as many as 100 individual pharmacies have failed to disclose any documentation whatsoever related to the money they collected.

Independent audits also found that some pharmacies and wholesalers were even involved in a ‘resale’ scheme that triggered multiple payments for the same product.

People in small towns won’t be able to get prescriptions filled.

Ontarians in all parts of the province deserve access to affordable medicine.

That’s why Ontario is taking action to protect pharmacy services in rural and underserviced areas of the province.  Under the government’s plan :

Dispensing fees for pharmacists in rural communities will rise by as much as $5 for every prescription filled. The dispensing fee will be determined as follows (for April 2011):

  • Where there is less than 5 km between pharmacies and more than two pharmacies in a town = will stay at new level of $8.20
  • Where there are no pharmacies within 5 to 10 km = $9.20
  • Where there are no other pharmacies for 10 to 25km = $11.28
  • Where there are no other pharmacies for more than 25km = $12.30

Ontario’s drugs are among the cheapest drugs in the world.  That’s why Americans come here to buy them.

Ontario has been paying some of the highest prices for generic drugs in the world.

In some cases, Ontario has been paying up to 22 times the price for some common generic medications.

Pharmacies lose money every time they dispense prescription drugs to patients in Ontario.

Pharmacies were paid over $950 million for dispensing prescription drugs under Ontario’s drug program — about $695 million in dispensing fees and $264 million in mark-up costs.

The government’s changes will see dispensing fees go up for all pharmacists.

Pharmacies don’t get paid enough for all the services they provide.

Pharmacists do valuable work in communities across Ontario and the government has shown its commitment to supporting these services.

Through its MedsCheck program, the government compensates pharmacists for the advice they give patients.  The government has dedicated $50 million a year to reimburse pharmacists for this service.  So far, about 700,000 Ontarians have used the program.

MedsCheck is being expanded to include home visits by pharmacists for those who have difficulty traveling to their community pharmacy. MedsCheck will also be available to people with diabetes and long-term care home residents.

An additional $100 million fund will compensate pharmacists for additional clinical pharmacy services they provide to Ontarians.

This government’s previous reforms have hurt Ontario pharmacies — and their bottom line.

Ontario’s support for pharmacies has increased by $318 million, or nearly 50%, since 2003.

Since the reforms implemented in 2006 as part of the Transparent Drug System for Patients Act, more than 445 new pharmacies have opened in Ontario, bringing the total to over 3,400 across the province.

The government has been spending over $950 million to pay pharmacies directly for dispensing fees and to cover the cost of mark-ups on drugs dispensed under the public drug programs. This number is going to increase because the dispensing fee has increased by $1 and it will increase by up to an additional $5 in rural areas.

The government plans to cut the number of drugs it covers.

Slashing generic drug prices would lead to the exact opposite.  In fact, the government plans to invest savings to cover more drugs, including new, innovative medications for patients.

For More Information

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