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Expanding Access to Clinical Pharmacy Services

Archived Backgrounder

Expanding Access to Clinical Pharmacy Services

The Ontario government is fulfilling its commitment to further expand access to clinical pharmacy services. As part of drug system reforms announced last June, the government committed an additional $100 million to pay pharmacists for their professional services. This builds on the existing $50-million investment in the MedsCheck program.

MedsCheck Program

The original MedsCheck program was launched on April 1, 2007 for Ontarians taking three or more medications for a chronic condition. The expanded MedsCheck program was launched in 2010, and was designed to reach residents of licensed Long-Term Care Homes, all people in Ontario living with diabetes, and those who are home-bound and have difficulty travelling to a pharmacy. There is no cost to patients for this service. 

Expanded Pharmacy Services

The first stage of expanded services was launched on April 1, 2011. This program covers professional services delivered at the time a prescription is filled at a pharmacy. The first stage of expanded pharmacy services is being offered to Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) recipients.

The second stage - appointment-based services - will begin in August and will build on the successful MedsCheck program. Eligibility for the second stage will be determined in consultation with the Pharmacy Council.

Ontario Drug Benefit Program

To be eligible for the ODB program, patients must have a valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card and belong to one of the following groups:

  • People on social assistance (Ontario Disability Support Program and/or Ontario Works)
  • Residents of homes for special care and long-term care homes
  • People receiving professional home care services

About the Pharmacy Council

The Pharmacy Council is a 12-member advisory group that provides expert advice to the government. It is made up primarily of pharmacy stakeholder groups and is co-chaired by the Ontario Pharmacists' Association and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

These added pharmacy services are based on recommendations from the Pharmacy Council's Expanding Professional Pharmacy Services Working Group. The group's mandate was to identify value-added services within the scope of practice of pharmacists that could be offered to patients in a pharmacy setting.

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