Diabetes Canada was pleased to learn the Government of Ontario will introduce a new program to children and youth 24 years old and under to obtain their prescription medications for free as announced in its 2017 Budget on April 27. This new program will give Ontario children and youth access to drugs reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, including medications listed under the Exceptional Access Program, at no cost. The program will commence January 1, 2018.
“People living with diabetes are at high risk of developing serious and costly long-term complications without the proper support. We applaud the Government of Ontario for implementing this program, a first of its kind in Canada, to ensure children and youth have access to the medications they need to live well,” says Diabetes Canada President and CEO, Rick Blickstead. “This is great news for young Ontarians living with diabetes and we look forward to ensuring that all people with diabetes have access to these medications.”
The Ontario government also announced its continued investment in Ontario’s First Nations Health Action Plan (OFNHAP) to improve access to culturally appropriate health services; develop a community hub in the province that concentrates on chronic diseases such as diabetes; and enhance inter-professional primary care teams with specialized health services – all long-standing items advocated by Diabetes Canada.
To build on these budget announcements, Diabetes Canada encourages the Ontario government to:
- develop and implement a policy to support the health and safety of students with type 1 diabetes;
- improve access to medications, devices and supplies for all people with diabetes regardless of age; and
- ensure people with diabetes have access to proper foot care services and supports, including amputation prevention devices, access to foot care specialists (as necessary), and education.
“Diabetes Canada recognizes the work of the Government of Ontario in meeting our call to help children and their families with the cost of living with diabetes. We look forward to working with them on over the coming year, including further initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes and help people manage their diabetes better,” says Russell Williams, vice president, government relations and public policy for Diabetes Canada.
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