Kenora MP Bob Nault says that the federal government is continuing to work on a program to bring free prescription medication to all Ontarians, not just those under the age of 24.
As part of 2018’s federal budget, the government will create an Advisory Council on the Implementation of a National Pharmacare program. The program would provide prescription drug coverage for all Ontarians regardless of age, income, job status or health status.
“In the future, we will look to implement a national pharmacare program,” said Nault. “It’s important for the region. It’s been discussed for decades. It would make a huge difference in quality of life in the area, whether your a senior, youth, or the general population as a whole,” Nault said.
Ontario’s new Drug Benefit Program was implemented on January 1, which provides children and young adults aged 24-and-under with medications at no cost.
Prescription medications are covered if they are listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit formulary, or if they are funded through the Exceptional Access Program formulary and requested by a doctor. Over 4,400 medications are covered, including: asthma inhalers, anti-depressants, antibiotics, diabetic test strips, epilepsy medications and insulin. Coverage is automatic, with no upfront costs. Ontario is the first province with a program of this nature.
“A drug plan that cuts people off from drug coverage the day they turn 25 years old is not good enough,” said NDP Health critic France Gélinas, during a recent question period at Queen’s Park. “Ontarians shouldn’t have to settle for a plan that leaves people from the ages of 25 to 65 with no prescription drug coverage. That’s not pharmacare -- because real universal pharmacare is prescription drug coverage for everyone.”
The NDP say that they have developed their Pharmacare for Everyone plan, and would implement the program if they get elected provincially. Ontario’s election is set for early June.
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