Ted Arnott, MPP
Wellington – Halton Hills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2010
Liberal pharmacy cuts threaten patient services: MPP Arnott
(Queen’s Park) – The McGuinty Liberals have declared war on Ontario’s pharmacists, and small
town residents will likely be caught in the cross-fire, says Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.
“The Minister of Health needs to withdraw her proposals to cut pharmacy service, tone down her rhetoric, and sit down with the pharmacists’ association to seek common ground,” Mr. Arnott said this week at Queen’s Park.
“If she doesn’t, many of our independent pharmacies will not survive, and our small towns will be the losers.”
Pharmacies are integral to Ontario’s health system, and patients trust their pharmacist to provide and monitor their medication, Mr. Arnott says.
“This is a fight that Dalton McGuinty cannot win,” he declared.
Health Minister Deb Matthews maintains the changes are needed to control the cost of drugs, but she has ignored the constructive proposals that the pharmacists’ association has presented.
“Ontarians have now paid $15 billion in health tax that Premier McGuinty promised he wouldn’t
levy,” Mr. Arnott charged. “We seem to be paying more and more, but receiving less and less.”
The Auditor General has also criticized the McGuinty Liberals’ eHealth program, which was intended to create computerized patient records. It cost $1 billion, yet delivered little in the way of results.
“They’re wasting hundreds of millions of dollars with one hand, and clawing it out of pharmacy with the other,” Mr. Arnott concluded.
He spoke in favour of the pharmacists in the Legislature on April 12th.
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Attached: Ontario Hansard
For further information:
Ontario Hansard – 12-April2010
Mr. Ted Arnott: The member for Kenora-Rainy River has offered the House a strong account of what he’s hearing in his riding and in his travels throughout Ontario. While our caucus often diverges in opinion from the New Democrats, I think he has offered a very interesting perspective. As you know, this budget debate allows considerable latitude, and a lot of issues are discussed during the course of the debate on the budget motion.
I want to bring forward my concerns about the war on pharmacy that the Minister of Health declared on pharmacists across the province last week. I have heard from a considerable number of pharmacists in my riding who are very concerned about what this will mean for their patients. Certainly, I heard from Joe Walsh of Walsh’s Pharmacy in Arthur. He sent me an email-he actually addressed it to the minister-today on April 12. I’m glad the minister is in the House to hear this. He said that “the face of pharmacy will be changed forever” if these proposals go through. “Longer waits, service cuts, and store closures are imminent, all brought upon by your ministry!
“You are giving pharmacies monies back i.e. MedsCheck, this program is a farce! I spend 1.5 hours on a MedsCheck review for a patient with 10 meds and you give me $50. This is less than it would cost you to have your car fixed. Shame on you, Ontarians’ health is worth more than fixing their car! What about the $100 million proposed to be given back to pharmacy? I will max out at $25,000 for my store and lose $264,000-you do the math (or have one of your misinformed consultants do it).”
He goes on and on. I’ve known Joe Walsh all my life, and I believe that what he is telling me is absolutely true. I’m very, very concerned. I share the concern of the small-town pharmacies and certainly of many of the pharmacists across the province. This government has declared war on them. They’re going to respondthe only way they can: with facts and with arguments. And this side of the House will support them.
Ontario Hansard – 12-April2010
Mr. Ted Arnott: The member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan has informed the House this afternoon of his views on the budget, and certainly, in response, from the opposition side, we hold a very different view, obviously. We have been continuing to put forward our points with respect to this government’s budgetary policy.
I would like to use my brief two minutes here in questions and comments to actually ask the member a question. The government of Ontario has declared war on the pharmacy sector in the province of Ontario.
Clearly, that’s what’s happened. Some of the government members apparently don’t understand that, but that’s what’s happened. They’re pursuing a policy of taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the income of pharmacists, which we’re told will lead to the closure of many pharmacies in small-town Ontario and probably northern Ontario as well. As well, there will be reduced service for patients, and patients-in many cases, you’d have to characterize this as a cut in health care.
I would ask the member: Has he heard from pharmacists in his riding? Is he concerned about this issue? If he has heard from his pharmacists, what is he doing to advocate for them? What is he doing to bring those concerns to the attention of the Minister of Health so that we can try to influence the government’s policy to take another look at this issue and not destroy the pharmacy sector in the province of Ontario?