Ontario’s special drug program mired in backlog

The Toronto Star reports that Ontario patients are waiting up to 5 months to get prescriptions approved under the Exceptional Access Program. Read the whole article…

Full disclosure: I’m taking Remicade for Crohn’s disease. And I’m a lucky guy – my $30,000 annual tab is picked up by my wife’s benefit plan. But in just over 5 years when she retires, we’ll be tossed off her plan. And I’ll be at the mercy of the Ontario Drug Benefit plan.

I’m already fretting over what the future will bring. Will the continued financial strain on the health system foreclose on my access to Remicade, and instead force a body altering operation because it will cost the system less in the short run?

And will this decision be made by a cost-benefit analyst rather than by a collaborative agreement between me and my doctors after assessing all the available information and a quality of life analysis?

A health ministry spokesman blames the current delays on the system converting to an electronic format. Should I take that at face value or is this just the tip of the iceberg of a dangerous trend?

I’ll put a recon squad on this and report back.

October 12, 2010