# Wednesday, June 21, 2006
                 

CONTROVERSY OVER BILL 102

How Ontarians will be Affected

It seems as though the Ontario government is quickly succumbing to pressure from large pharmaceutical companies. Bill 102, originally introduced in April 2006, was designed to help lower prescription costs for Ontario residents, but quickly outraged brand-name pharmaceutical companies.

One of the biggest issues in this controversy revolves around generic drug substitutions. As prescription drugs are one of the fastest growing elements in Canadian health-care spending, generic prescription drugs are a major threat to the profits of large pharmaceuticals. Currently, pharmacists are only required to substitute cheaper generic brands for drugs purchased under the provincial plan, or under workplace plans that demand such substitutions. Bill 102 theoretically would have allowed pharmacists to substitute generic drugs in all cases, unless specifically objected to by the prescribing physician. This would have meant significant savings to the consumer who is currently not covered under any health plan. Unfortunately, the government has since decided that "further studies must be done", leaving Ontarians to continue to pay top dollar for brand name prescriptions.

This decision leaves the Ontario consumer who does not have prescription coverage left with having no alternative but to pay the added costs of buying brand name drugs. For those who currently don’t have coverage, either individually or through their employer, purchasing health insurance may be a viable option. Such carriers as Manulife Financial, Ontario Blue Cross, Great West Life and Sun Life offer affordable coverage to ensure that Ontarians aren’t left struggling to cover rising prescription costs.
   

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