Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Province mulling drug plan changes

From the London (Ont.) Free Press:
Major changes to the Ontario drug benefit system -- based in part on a secret, $750,000 sole-sourced consultant contract -- that the government hopes will increase taxpayers' "value for money" are coming soon.

But the Health Ministry insists the changes are targeting "very unacceptable practices" in the professional allowance system of payments between generic drug companies and pharmacies and not the seniors and welfare recipients who use the plan.

"In Canada, we are paying dramatically higher prices for generic drugs than most other countries," said Helen Stevenson, assistant deputy minister and executive officer of Ontario Public Drug Programs.

She added that legislation passed two years ago that was meant to address the issue is being skirted.

"The decision was taken that we need to do some further reform. We are still paying inflated prices for generics and we understand why -- it's because of these allowances."

Stevenson would not say what the changes being contemplated involve since no final decision on the policy options has been made, nor would she discuss the recommendations made in the McKinsey and Co. report that informed the process. Health officials asked the firm to do the report before Premier Dalton McGuinty banned untendered consulting contracts in June. ...more

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