Oct 17, 2016
By Jane Brown
It’s come to light that nursing homes in Ontario charge pharmacies millions of dollars in secret per-resident bed fees for the lucrative rights to dispense publicly funded drugs.
A report in the Toronto Star reveals pharmacies compete for a share of an annual $370-million pool of public and resident money to supply and dispense drugs to 630 nursing homes. These include medicine for ill residents, blood thinners, and anti-depressants.
The report says a number of pharmacies have a monopoly at individual homes. And to secure these dispensing rights, pharmacies are typically asked by nursing homes to pay between ten and 70 dollars per resident per month. The article says not all homes demand the payments.
In response to the story, seniors advocates say this practice raises serious accountability questions. Jane Meadus is a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. She says we have to know what’s happening with that money and right now, there’s no transparency.
There are 77,000 seniors in Ontario nursing homes.