Without a universal prescription drug plan, coverage in Canada vastly differs depending on where you live. Ontario’s proposed partial pharmacare program is a step in the right direction, but still leaves many without coverage. Ontario’s current publicly-funded programs require deductibles or co-payments, which have proven to reduce access.
- 24 percent of respondents in Ontario said they or someone else in their household hadn’t taken medication as prescribed because they couldn’t afford to.
- Today, public spending in Ontario covers less than half the cost of prescription medicine.
- An estimated one in three of the province’s 6,923,200 workers – 2,307,733 – don’t have health benefits.
- In Canada, only about 27 percent of part-time workers have prescription drug coverage. That means that in 2015, about three quarters of Ontario’s 1,305,000 part-time workers didn’t have prescription drug coverage.
- Ontario’s Drug Benefit covers seniors, but they still pay an annual deductible of $100, and co-payments of $6.11 on every prescription.
- The province’s Trillium Drug Program is available for those paying more than three percent of their net household income on prescriptions, but they still pay a deductible, and co-payments of $2 per prescription.
- Even charges as low as $2 have been found to be a barrier to taking medication as prescribed.
- In 2017, the Ontario government announced a partial Pharmacare program that will cover full prescription drug costs for anyone under the age of 25. If approved, the program will start January 1, 2018, and will cover 4,400 drugs for the province’s children and young adults.
This patchwork coverage leaves many Ontarians without access to the medication they need, either because they don’t have a prescription drug plan or have plans that don’t cover the cost.
Everyone should have equal access to the prescription drugs they need regardless of where they live. It’s time for a universal prescription drug plan.