Ontario Premier Wynne Promises Free Prescription Drugs for Seniors

As we draw closer to the June 7 Ontario provincial election, candidates vying for votes are beginning to unveil what they intend to do if elected, or re-elected, as Premier.

On Tuesday (March 20), Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a plan to make prescription drugs free to those 65+ if she were to once again win the vote.

“Through an expansion of OHIP+, more than 4,400 prescription drugs will be available free of charge to everyone 65 and over,” reads a press release issued by the Government of Ontario. Medications for asthma, cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid conditions will be among those covered.

Kathleen Wynne

The Ontario Liberals say that this plan would commence August 1, 2019 and would stop seniors from having to pay a deductible or co-payment. Individuals would just have to present their “eligible prescription” and OHIP number at any Ontario pharmacy in order to receive their free medication.

On average, says the Liberals, seniors would save $240 annually as a result of this initiative. The cost to make this happen would be $575 million by 2020-21.

Libby Znaimer - Fight Back

Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne, along with provincial party leaders Doug Ford (PC) and Andrea Horwath, have appeared recently on ZoomerRadio’s “Fight Back with Libby Znaimer.” To listen to each representative’s interview, please click on their names in the previous sentence.

On January 1, 2018, Ontario introduced OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare to make prescription drugs free to those 24 and under.

“The costs of health care can cause anxiety and stress, especially for people 65 and over who are living on fixed incomes and are often required to take multiple medications,” commented Premier Wynne. “We all want the best care for our parents and grandparents, and I believe government needs to do more. Providing prescription drugs at no cost for millions of seniors is going to make life more affordable and help seniors stay healthy and independent.”

Doug Ford

Elsewhere, Ontario PC leader Doug Ford has said that he hopes to give the province’s manufacturing sector a boost. Hours after Wynne discussed her free prescription plan for seniors, Ford wrote this on Twitter: “Just wrapped up my first caucus meeting as Ontario PC Leader. The PC Caucus is ready to deliver change to the people of Ontario. Wynne’s days as Premier are numbered!”

Over the weekend, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced one of her major campaign platforms: “Dental Care for Everyone.”

-Adam Grant

On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” host Libby Znaimer was joined by Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, Executive Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer for the Ontario Pharmacists Association, Allan Malek, Dr. Steve Morgan, Professor of health policy in the School of Population and Public Health (UBC), and others, to discuss how Canada might institute universal public drug coverage and if Canadians can afford it. You can watch this episode below.