Originally published on June 7th, 2011 on the Ontario Government website, Healthzone.ca and the Northumberland View. To go to the Ottawa Citizen website please click here
McGuinty Government Reinvests Savings Into Health Care, Auditing More Pharmacies And Manufacturers
Ontarians now have access to more cancer drugs, receive new services from their local pharmacists, and get better value for their health care dollars thanks to drug system reforms.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of historic drug reforms in Ontario – with the government successfully meeting its commitment to save $500 million per year by reducing generic drug prices by 50 per cent.
Ontario has reinvested these savings back into health care including making drugs and pharmacy services more accessible to families. Key reinvestments include:
* Funding 15 new drugs – four new cancer drugs and 11 new brand name drugs
* Expanding the successful MedsCheck program to include pharmacist consultations for people with diabetes, long-term care home residents and people who have difficulty travelling to their local pharmacy
* Providing seniors and Ontario Drug Benefit recipients with more access to free services at their local pharmacy to ensure they use medications safely and effectively
* Supporting access to pharmacy services in rural communities by increasing the dispensing fees paid to rural pharmacies.
The province is also making sure that Ontarians are getting the best possible value for their tax dollars by taking new steps to audit more pharmacies, wholesalers and generic drug manufacturers. This will help to ensure they are complying with the reforms, including eliminating professional allowances. Enforcement action will be taken in instances where the rules are not being followed.
These drug reforms are part of the government’s Open Ontario Plan to provide more access to health care services while improving quality and accountability for patients.
“The results speak for themselves. Making these reforms to our drug system was clearly the right thing to do. One year later, Ontarians have access to more drugs and better pharmacy services. Health dollars are being redirected to initiatives that will improve patient care. I want to thank our partners in the pharmacy sector for helping us move forward with these transformative changes.”
– Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“CARP members strongly supported the generic drug pricing reforms one year ago because savings in health care dollars would be used to expand services and cover more medications for Ontarians. They will be very encouraged by the results. CARP members will be looking for the same political leadership nation wide to face down opposition to much needed reforms including bulk purchasing of drugs and ensuring equitable and affordable access to needed drugs and treatments.”
– Susan Eng, Vice President of Advocacy, CARP
“The Canadian life and health insurance industry congratulates the Ontario government on its leadership in taking decisive action one year ago to reduce the cost of generic drugs for all Ontarians. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2010 saw the smallest increase in drug costs to private payers in Ontario in over a decade. This represents a significant saving for plan sponsors and helps to ensure the continued availability of quality supplementary health plans for Ontario workers and their families.”
– Frank Swedlove, President of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association