Long-term harm the result of short-term thinking

The Canadian Pharmacists Association expresses concern about Ontario drug system reform

OTTAWA, April 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is concerned about the impact the cuts to local pharmacies, announced by the McGuinty Liberals, will have on the overall health of Ontarians.

Long-term harm to the health of Ontarians and its drug system may be the result of the short-term thinking on health budget cuts. Sustaining access to pharmacy services for patients may be a challenge in many communities and neighbourhoods.

While the $1 increase in dispensing fees and the commitment to reinvest $100-million in new pharmacy services are encouraging proposals, we are concerned that these will not be enough to ensure that pharmacies can sustain the existing level of service to patients, given the proposed loss of professional allowances.

These allowances have been an established part of pharmacy funding for many years. Until now, the Ontario government has allowed for these to subsidize services and minimize the government's and private payers' need to increase professional fees paid to pharmacies.

"Pharmacists recognize the need to change as the healthcare system evolves," said Jeff Poston, Executive Director, CPhA. "But, it will be a challenge for pharmacists to maintain the existing high-level of pharmacy services enjoyed by Ontarians given these cuts to front-line healthcare."

"Implementing the proposal to support pharmacy services in rural communities and under-serviced areas in a reasonable manner may be a challenge," said Dwight Ball, President, CPhA. "We will anxiously wait to see the details of this proposal."

As we move forward, it will be important for the Government of Ontario to work collaboratively with the pharmacy profession so that patients have access to medications and the services necessary to ensure that they are used appropriately.

About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association is the national organization of pharmacists, committed to providing leadership for the profession and improving the health of Canadians.

SOURCE Canadian Pharmacists Association

For further information: For further information: Susan Clarke, Canadian Pharmacists Association, Office: (613) 523-7877, 1-800-917-9489 x267, Cell: (613) 222-1974, mediarequests@pharmacists.ca

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