The Ontario government is ensuring the sustainability of the Ontario Public Drug Program and patients’ access to drugs by making the program more efficient and effective.
Beginning October 1, 2015, Ontario is implementing the following changes:
In community pharmacies, patients will get a three-month supply of certain medications for chronic conditions, making it easier and less expensive for them to fill their prescriptions and requiring fewer visits to their community pharmacy. This change applies to drugs that are commonly used to treat chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Currently, patients are refilling their prescriptions as often as every two weeks.
Ontario Drug Benefit recipients who require more frequent dispensing due to an established physical, cognitive or sensory impairment or are on a complex medication regimen where patient safety is at risk, will be able to continue to receive their medications at more frequent intervals.
Encouraging patients to try two or more equivalent generic drug products, where available, before a brand product is reimbursed will maximize the use of safe and effective generic alternatives. This will provide better value to taxpayers and the government. Patients who have experienced an adverse reaction and currently possess a valid “no substitution” prescription from their physician will continue to receive their brand medication. Patients will continue to have the option to pay the cost-difference between the brand and generic when they have not had an adverse reaction.
The other changes, including decreasing the mark-up paid to pharmacies for high-cost drugs and reducing dispensing fees for pharmacies servicing long-term care home residents, will have no impact on patients.
Ontario is implementing these changes to help manage the rising costs of drugs and protect our health care system to make sure the people of Ontario can get the drugs they need now and in the future.
The responsible management of health care is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy, and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.
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