CARP calls on the Ministry of Health to fully fund pill packs

July 30, 2008 Toronto: CARP calls on the Ministry of Health to fully fund pill packs – the weekly supply of prescription medication sorted and placed in blister packs by the pharmacists.

The Ministry of Health announced the regulatory changes, coming into effect August 1, 2008, whereby pharmacists may continue to provide pill packs, but will be limited to 2 dispensing fees per month. CARP welcomes the improvement over the original proposal to limit the dispensing fee to one per month’s supply but advocates that the funding must be provided at a level that makes it worthwhile for the pharmacists to provide this service.

“Pill packs reduce the incidence of medication error and the potentially tragic consequences, and continued funding of the dispensing fees for such services to Ontario seniors should be a vital part of Ontario’s Aging @ Home strategy”, said Susan Eng, Vice President, Advocacy of CARP.

As a measure of recognition of their importance, compliance packs are widely used in long term care homes and the regulatory changes will not apply to their residents.

“We are pleased that the Ministry responded to our submission with some added flexibility, but for the few remaining pharmacists still willing to provide this much needed service and especially for their clients—the Ministry is being penny wise and pound foolish. The benefit and protection afforded by fully funding pill packs would far exceed the costs”, added Eng.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canadians which means social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination; ensuring that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and providing value-added benefits, products and services to members; and building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

Background Information

Conditions for Payment of Dispensing Fees under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program

CARP’s Submission to Ontario Public Drug Programs Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Toronto Star Article- Drug move endangers seniors, lawyer says

For further information, please contact:

Michelle Taylor, Communications Coordinator- CARP

Susan Eng, VP of Advocacy- CARP