CATASTROPHIC DRUG USE 'SOARING' IN ONTARIO: STUDY

Mar 26, 2018

By Jane Brown

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There are some 130,000 Ontario residents who have so-called “catastrophic” drug expenses and need government assistance to cover their costly medications.

A new study also shows that both the numbers of users and the overall cost of the Trillium Drug Program are soaring.

The research, published in the medical journal CMAJ Open, shows the number of claimants rose threefold between 2000 and 2016.

To be eligible for the program, Ontarians must spend more than 3 to 4 percent of annual after-tax household income on prescription drugs and be under the age of 65.

The most commonly used drugs by claimants are cholesterol lowering statins, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, and diabetes drugs such as metformin.

But the most costly drugs for the Trillium program are biologics used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Hepatitis C.

Doctor Mina Tadrous is a research associate with the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network, and says the data underscores the increasing financial pressure Canadians face in paying for prescription drugs.

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