New Democrats on Drug Reform

New Democrats support reforms to Ontario’s pharmaceutical system that will result in better access to affordable, high quality drugs.

The elimination of the professional allowance system could be a step in the right direction. No one, including pharmacists, argue that the old system is perfect. However, the McGuinty government chose to take a hasty and oppositional approach to this complex issue and it is Ontarians who will suffer because of this.

Pharmacists are essential health care professionals that are relied on by Ontario’s families. New Democrats have heard from Ontarians in every corner of this province who are concerned about the impact of these reforms on their access to pharmacy services.

For Ontarians living in Northern and rural communities, they are worried that what may be the only pharmacy in their town, will shut down. To this day, the McGuinty government has not offered a plan that will keep these pharmacies open and maintain access to these important healthcare professionals.

Instead, they have demonized pharmacists rather than working cooperatively with them to develop a feasible plan. Ontarians have been told that additional money will be provided to pharmacies to maintain some level of existing services, yet no details on this funding model have been offered. This is unacceptable.

The government’s reforms are solely focused on generic drug prices. Yet patent drugs continue to account for two-thirds of the $3.9 billion annual government expenditure on prescription medicines. Why is the government focusing on driving down the cost of generic drugs while allowing the cost of patent drugs to continue to escalate and consume an ever-growing portion of the overall healthcare budget?

New Democrats support a responsible drug reform plan that works with Ontario’s pharmacists so that high quality, universal services remain available to all Ontarians.

Keywords: drugs, pricing