Ontario seniors and pharmacists thank the Ontario government for improving access to medications

On May 13, 2020, Ontario seniors and pharmacists welcomed an announcement from the Ontario government to improve access to medications by removing any additional financial burden that was an unintended consequence as a result of a policy to limit medications to 30 days in an effort to secure the drug supply during the pandemic.

May 14, 2020 (Toronto, ON) On May 13, the government announced that until June 30, 2020 or when the 30-day supply policy is lifted whichever comes first, Ontario seniors and others who rely on the Ontario Drug Benefit program will not pay a co-payment for eligible prescriptions.

Two months ago, the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) supported the government's initiative to move to a 30-day limit on prescription medications to ensure stability in the province's medication supply during COVID-19. The Ontario government adopted this measure on March 20 and, to date, it has been successful in decreasing supply chain pressures so that medications continue to be available to all Ontarians when they actually need them.

An unfortunate consequence of this policy was the additional financial burden placed on Ontarians through added co-payments, in particular with our vulnerable senior population. As a result, the OPA and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) urged the Ontario government to find a solution to remove the financial burden for Ontarians while also ensuring that pharmacies could continue to operate without added financial pressures resulting from the policy. 

"Today, we want to thank Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Elliott and the Ford government for stepping in and resolving this issue for Ontario seniors and for pharmacists," says Justin Bates, Chief Executive Officer, OPA. "This has been a very collaborative effort, and Ontario pharmacists are pleased to be able to move forward in caring for their patients while at the same time protecting our drug supply."

"The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to Ontario seniors. We're pleased to see that the Ontario government is addressing the unintended cost implications of this otherwise prudent policy," says Marissa Lennox, Chief Policy Officer for CARP, "With most pharmacies delivering prescriptions so that seniors can remain safe in their homes, this removal of the financial burden will be instrumental in ensuring that they are able to continue with their medication therapy and stay healthy."

The Ontario Pharmacists Association and CARP want to thank the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott for her partnership and dedication to supporting Ontarians during this challenging time.

About the Canadian Association for Retired Persons

CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Persons) is Canada's largest advocacy association for older Canadians. Today CARP has more than 320,000 members. As a non-partisan association, CARP is committed to working with all parties in government to advocate for older Canadians. Its mission is to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, and freedom from ageism. CARP members engage in polls and petitions, email their elected representatives, connect with local chapters and share stories and opinions on urgent issues.

About the Ontario Pharmacists Association

The Ontario Pharmacists Association is committed to evolving the pharmacy profession and advocating for excellence in practice and patient care. With more than 10,000 members, OPA is Canada's largest advocacy organization, and professional development provider for pharmacy professionals across Ontario. By leveraging the unique expertise of pharmacy professionals, enabling them to practise to their fullest potential, and making them more accessible to patients, OPA is working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. The pharmacy sector plays a strong role in Ontario with an economic impact of more than $6.3 billion across 4,500 pharmacies, employing 60,000 Ontarians.

For more information:
Corinne Radake Director,
Public Affairs
416-441-0788 x 4236
cradake@opatoday.com

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