Why it's costing many Ontario residents more for prescriptions right now
TORONTO -- Across Canada most prescriptions for medications have been reduced from 90 days to 30 due to a concern some patients might try to stockpile their medications, which could lead to shortages.
It means patients who are self-isolating have to go out to the drug store more often and pay triple the amount in dispensing fees.
"With me having asthma it's easier for me to catch this disease," Niagara Falls resident Allan Wiseman told CTV News Toronto. Wiseman uses four different medications and says he is charged a dispensing fee of $11.99 for each of his four prescriptions.
Now, instead of paying $47.96 in fees for three months he has to pay $143.88 over the same time period.
"I think at this time everybody is going through rough times and they are not helping me out," Wiseman said.
Georgina, Ont. resident John Burrows is a diabetic and had a heart attack last year and is on eight different medications.
"I've been laid off from my job so I don't have as much money as I did a few weeks ago and now they are tripling the costs of my dispensing fees," Burrows told CTV News Toronto.
"I've talked to several people who say they are starting to get more selective in what they are taking. They’re not taking all their medications because they can't afford them."
The Canadian Pharmacists Association told CTV News Toronto that “patients should not have to endure any additional financial hardships as a result of this measure to protect Canada’s drug supply.”
It's calling on the government and private insurers to protect patients from out of pockets costs.
"I'd like to see the government step in and deal with this issue," CEO of the Center for Patient Protection Kathleen Finlay told CTV News Toronto. "They are doing it for all other kinds of different groups affected by this pandemic."
Meanwhile, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said they are looking at ways to resolve the issue for citizens during the pandemic.
"We just want to make sure there are enough supplies for everyone who needs a particular medication to get them," Elliot said.
The Canadian Pharmacist’s Association said the 30 day limit on prescriptions is a temporary, but necessary measure to protect against the real risk of shortages during the pandemic.