Rules of the “Ontario Drug Plan”

Spring 2008 CSANews Issue 66  |  Posted date : May 24, 2008.Back to list

Dear Bird Talk,

In view of the problems which I recently experienced when attempting to obtain prescription medicine from my pharmacist before leaving for wintering in Florida, will you kindly clarify the rules of "Ontario Drug Plan"? How many weeks' worth am I allowed to have in hand before obtaining a fresh supply on departure, and what is the maximum that I can obtain?

After the first of August, I spent five weeks out of the country and then after four weeks in Canada, I wanted enough prescriptions to last me for a further 16 weeks. I was told (to begin with - later corrected) I could only have the "extended amount once in a year" (from the first of August)? This was confirmed on the telephone by the druggist speaking to an ODP representative and then later changed by another representative during a separate telephone call!

Dennis Crump

If you present an Ontario pharmacist with a brand-new, first-time prescription - the pharmacist normally will only dispense a 30-day supply. Your doctor will likely want to see you for a follow-up assessment to ensure that the medication is working properly. For repeat prescriptions, the Ontario Drug Plan is designed to provide users with regular, ongoing, "at home" requests for a 90-day supply at any one time.

The Ontario Drug Plan also contains provisions for a vacation supply for medication and you can receive up to a 200-day supply at one time, but it will be dispensed as two separate scripts of 100 days each on the pharmacist's computer. There is also some paperwork involved. Forms must be filled out with the pharmacist confirming that it is a "vacation supply," and you will need to attach proof that you are travelling, such as a copy of a (Medipac) travel insurance card, an airline ticket, etc. This will constitute proof of a lengthy trip requiring more than the normal three-month supply limit. In addition to proving that you are going away, the second 100-day supply will only be processed if you have less than a 30-day supply left for home use.

These regulations vary substantially, by province, so talk to your pharmacist well in advance of your departure date.