THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro has been under attack from pharmacists over changes proposed to subsidies paid to the local pharmacies in Ontario. There have been full page ads in the Chronicle Journal newspaper, and direct dialer calls out into the riding calling the McGuinty Government to task over the proposed cuts.
Today, Bill Mauro is responding to some of the statements made by the pharmacists.
Mauro states, “I greatly value the services our local pharmacists provide. I also know that Ontarians are paying far too much for generic drugs. Ontario is the world’s second largest purchaser of generic drugs, yet we’re paying some of the highest prices. Two million Ontarians pay out of pocket for their medications. Our government’s drug reform will decrease the price of generic drugs. Ontarians will be able to pay significantly less for their generic medications, and the government’s savings will be reinvested to add more drugs to the formulary, so people have greater access to affordable medications.”
Mauro outlines the government reforms stating that they include more effectively compensating pharmacists for the services they provide by:
- increasing dispensing fees paid to pharmacists;
- compensating pharmacies directly for specific services they provide to patients; and
- boosting the financial support for pharmacies in small and rural communities.
“The government has proposed a $150 million government fund that would compensate
pharmacists for their professional services,” states Mauro. “What’s surprised me most about the response to our government’s efforts to lower generic drug prices is that some pharmacy associations have claimed we’re cutting front-line health care funding. We’re not cutting front-line health care. Investing in health care is the number one priority for our government and it’s my number one priority as an MPP”.
Mauro adds, “Since our government was elected in 2003, Ontario’s health care funding has gone up by $15 billion, to $45 billion—that’s a 50% increase in funding. Ontario has hired almost 10,000 more nurses and 2,300 more doctors. We’ve also made great improvements to our local health care. For example, Thunder Bay is now home to angioplasty services. Thunder Bay’s angioplasty services allow almost 600 people per year to receive their care in our community, close to family—and it saves lives.”
Mauro concludes “This isn’t about the government and local pharmacists. We value the work that our local pharmacists do. The issue is ensuring that Ontarians have access to more affordable generic medications. At the end of the day, I believe we’ll be able to resolve this issue in a way that meets the needs of both pharmacists and Ontario taxpayers.”