Nurses say Bill 102 is the right prescription to reshape the drug system
“We applaud the government for proposing changes in drug pricing because the money saved can be directed to better drug coverage for low-income families,” says Mary Ferguson-Paré, president of RNAO. The proposal to give pharmacists greater flexibility to dispense a generic drug in place of a brand-name drug is an important step. “But we believe the government should continue to fully reimburse ‘no substitution’ prescriptions for people who experience adverse reactions to substitutes,” she adds.
“For years now, drugs costs have been spiraling out of control; by 169 per cent since 1995. We know this kind of runaway expenditure threatens the sustainability of our health-care system,” adds Doris Grinspun, executive director of RNAO.
RNAO welcomes the proposal to create an Executive Officer to oversee the province’s drug system. To further strengthen the bill, RNAO recommends this office be given powers to negotiate price changes. RNAO also wants the government to ensure that the Executive Office operates in a manner that is both transparent and truly independent of the pharmaceutical industry. “This will ensure the kind of accountability that has been lacking for so long,” says Ferguson-Paré.
However, RNAO says Bill 102 does fail to address a very fundamental issue with respect to drug policies: “Many Ontarians do not have access to drug benefit plans. This lack of fairness and equity compromises the health of thousands of Ontarians,” Grinspun says. “The right thing to do is for the government to implement a province-wide pharmacare program that covers everyone. And, as a start we ask that all savings accrued through Bill 102 – which are expected to be more than $220 million in its first fiscal year – be reinvested in expanding universal drug coverage for low-income persons,” concludes Grinspun.
RNAO’s complete submission on Bill 102 is available online. Visit www.rnao.ca.
WHO: Doris Grinspun, RN, MSN, PhD (cand) O.Ont, RNAO Executive Director
WHAT: Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy
WHERE: Queen’s Park, Main Legislative Building, Committee Room 1
WHEN: Monday, June 5, 2006 - 3:40 p.m.
Please note: Ms. Grinspun will be available to speak with reporters outside Committee Room 1 after her presentation to the standing committee.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.