A fairer drug system for seniors (Media Release)

This news release was published by the Ontario Ministry of Health

Toronto – April 3, 2012 – Ontario is asking the five per cent of seniors with the highest incomes to pay more of their own prescription drug costs – so the province can invest in more home care and supports for all seniors.

The Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program helps all seniors with the cost of their prescription drugs. All seniors are eligible for the ODB regardless of their income level.

As proposed in the 2012 Ontario Budget, high-income seniors would pay a greater share of their drug costs starting August 2014:

-For single seniors with income of more than $100,000 the deductible will be $100 plus three per cent of net income over $100,000.
-For senior couples with a combined income of more than $160,000, the deductible will be $200 plus three per cent of their family net income over $160,000.

Drug costs for seniors below these net income levels would remain the same.

This measure will save $30 million in 2014-15 and help the government better support an aging population through a new Seniors Strategy which calls for expanding house calls, increasing access to home care, and providing improved coordination between hospitals, primary and community care.

Protecting health care for families and seniors is part of the McGuinty government’s Action Plan for Health Care and builds upon the gains made in health care since 2003.


“Our government is making the right choice to ask the wealthiest five per cent of seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs. This change will help us to invest in better health care in the community for our seniors and ensure the long-term sustainability of our health care system.” -Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“CARP has called for a comprehensive strategy to ensure a seamless continuum of care starting from a post-acute episode or diagnosis and continuing to end of life. The Ontario budget measures clearly recognize the importance and the preference of staying in one’s own home as long as possible in this journey, and the savings from the changes to the ODB can help achieve more extensive health coverage for Ontario’s seniors. Even with the proposed changes to ODB, Ontario seniors will be among the best-off compared to those in other provinces.” -Susan Eng, Vice-President of Advocacy, CARP


-The ODB program helps about 1.9 million seniors in the community and 215,000 seniors and non-seniors living in long-term care homes or receiving home care services.
-Ontario has reduced the price of most generic drugs to 25 per cent of the brand-name products, saving seniors and families more money on their prescriptions.
-Ontario’s drug reforms are now saving the province $500 million a year – and this year will save an additional $100 million.
-The 2012 Ontario Budget commits to a four per cent yearly increase in funding for community care over the next three years.