Drug System Reforms

Who Benefits From Drug Reform?


Patients

You benefit because you’ll get better health care.

That’s because every single dollar that the government saves by lowering the price of generic drugs is going right back into the health care system to benefit all Ontarians.

A large portion of the savings will be used to add new prescription drugs to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program’s formulary. That means seniors and Ontarians on social assistance will have access to more drugs.

The rest of the funds will go toward initiatives like increasing the quality of our hospitals, hiring more nurses, strengthening our home care system, or reducing wait times in our emergency rooms.

That’s why groups like the Ontario Nurses Association and the Ontario Hospital Association commended the government for taking action to reduce the cost of generic drugs.

In the past, we’ve been able to provide access to important drugs for rare diseases and new IV cancer drugs through the New Drug Funding Program.

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Seniors and Individuals with Ontario Drug Benefits

(The Ontario Drug Benefit Program is offered to seniors and people on social assistance, among others)

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You benefit because you’ll have access to more prescription drugs.

The government is going to use some of the savings it achieves through these changes to expand the number of drugs on the formulary.

Ontario has already added 186 new brand name and generic drugs and 49 cancer drugs/indications to the formulary between January 2006 and June 2011. With these new changes, it plans to add even more.

That’s why groups like CARP, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario think these reforms are a step in the right direction.

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Individuals who pay out-of-pocket

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You benefit because you’ll pay less for your generic drugs.

How much less? Here’s an example:

A 45-year-old man who pays for Venlafaxine (a generic drug used to treat depression and anxiety) and takes a 150 mg dose once a day would save more than $330 every year once the reforms take full effect.

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Employees with private plans

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You benefit because you may get access to a better health insurance plan or pay lower premiums for your current plan.

These reforms should allow private insurers to make their drug plans more comprehensive – they may use the savings to add new drugs to their formularies or invest more money in things like health promotion and disease prevention.

The reforms could also allow private insurers to lower their premiums, making your health insurance more affordable. This could have the added benefit of enabling some employers, who haven’t been able to afford a health plan for their workers, to start offering their employees a health plan.

It’s for these reasons that the following groups support the reforms :

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association
  • Canadian Health and Life Insurance Association
  • The Ontario Hospital Association
  • The Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan
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Pharmacists

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You benefit because your pharmacy will be fairly compensated for the patient care you provide.

The government knows that pharmacists want to use their skills to the fullest. Pharmacists are highly-trained health professionals and an integral part of the province’s health care system.

Through these reforms, the government is ensuring pharmacists are fairly compensated for helping patients by increasing dispensing fees and paying for additional clinical pharmacy services provided to patients.

Through the reforms, the government is committing $150 million, including a new $100 million fund, to compensate pharmacy owners for the professional services – things like medication consultations – that pharmacists provide to Ontarians.

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Benefits for Rural/remote pharmacies

You benefit because you could receive new dedicated funding from the government.

Once the reforms are in effect, dispensing fees paid by the Ontario government would increase by up to $5 for every Ontario Drug Benefit prescription filled in rural or underserviced areas of the province. The government is doing this because it knows how important it is to ensure that the people who live in these regions have a full-service pharmacy, close to home.

The Ontario government is also committing $150 million, including a new $100 million fund, to compensate pharmacy owners for the professional services – things like medication consultations– that pharmacists provide to Ontarians.

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Benefits for Taxpayers

You benefit because you’ll get better value for your tax dollars.

By eliminating something called “professional allowances,” the government is making the drug system more accountable and saving taxpayers money.

Professional allowances were being abused by some pharmacies. They were also the main reason that Ontario was paying more for generic drugs than other jurisdictions – in some cases, three to four times more.

Professional allowances are payments from generic drug manufacturers to pharmacies. They’re supposed to be used to support direct patient care. Instead, it was found that seventy per cent of these payments have been diverted away from direct patient care and used to fund employee benefits, bonuses, overhead costs and boost profits, including in big chain drug stores.

The government’s reforms will clean up this abuse, eliminate this unaccountable system, increase direct payments to pharmacists for the valued services they provide and deliver cheaper drugs to Ontario’s patients and seniors.


For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm

If you are a member of the media, call Communications and Information Branch at 416-314-6197, go to http://drugreforms.mohmedia.ca/ or visit our News Room section.