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A prescription drug
A prescription drug (also prescription medication or prescription medicine) is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed.

A prescription drug

A prescription drug (also prescription medication or prescription medicine) is a pharmaceutical drug that legally requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. In contrast, over-the-counter drugs can be obtained without a prescription. The reason for this difference in substance control is the potential scope of misuse, from drug abuse to practicing medicine without a license and without sufficient education. Different jurisdictions have different definitions of what constitutes a prescription drug.

“Rx” (℞) is often used as a short form for prescription drug in North America – a contraction of the Latin word “recipe” (an imperative form of “recipere”) meaning “take”.

In Canada, there are four drug schedules:

  • Schedule 1: Requires a prescription for sale and is provided to the public by a licensed pharmacist.
  • Schedule 2: Does not require a prescription but requires an assessment by a pharmacist prior to sale. These drugs are kept in an area of the pharmacy where there is no public access and may also be referred to as “behind-the-counter” drugs.
  • Schedule 3: Does not require a prescription but must be kept in an area under the supervision of a pharmacist. These drugs are kept in an area of the retail outlet where self-selection is possible, but a pharmacist must be available to assist in the self-selection of medication if required.
  • Unscheduled: Does not require a prescription and may be sold in any retail outlet.

All medications other than Schedule 1 may be considered an OTC drug, as they do not require prescriptions for sale. While the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities provides recommendations on the scheduling of drugs for sale in Canada, each province may determine its own scheduling. The drugs found in each schedule may vary from province to province.

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Medical supplies

Medical supplies

Medical supplies refers to the non-durable disposable health care materials ordered or prescribed by a physician.

Over the counter (OTC)

Over the counter (OTC)

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines sold directly to a consumer without a requirement for a prescription from a healthcare professional.

Travel Health

Travel Health

Contact us to fully analyze what medications should be considered when traveling abroad. This consultation will be tailored to you and your specific travel destination.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the changes to OHIP+ program?

The Ontario government has announced changes to OHIP+ starting April 1, 2019. Children and youth age 24 and under who are OHIP-insured, but who do not have a private plan will be eligible.

What medications are covered by OHIP+?

OHIP+ completely covers the cost of more than 4,400 drug products that are currently available through the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, including:

  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Inhalers for asthma
  • Various insulins, oral diabetic medications and diabetes test strips
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g. EPIPENs®)
  • Medications to treat arthritis, epilepsy and other chronic conditions
  • Antidepressants
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications
  • Medications to treat some childhood cancers and other rare conditions

To find out if your medication is covered through the Ontario Drug Benefit Program visit www.ontario.ca/page/check-medication-coverage/ or contact us for more information.

Medications available through the Exceptional Access Program may also be covered if an individual qualifies

What is a private plan?

A private plan means an employer, group or individual plan, program or account, that could provide coverage for drug products, including facilitating the funding that could be used to pay for drug products, regardless of the following: 

  • the private plan covers the particular drug for which coverage is sought, 
  • the child or youth or another person under the private plan is required to pay a co-payment, deductible, or premium, or, 
  • the child or youth has reached their annual maximum under the private plan and no further coverage is available.
What about medications not covered under OHIP+?

If the prescribed medication is not covered by OHIP+, your Guardian or I.D.A. pharmacist may be able to recommend alternative medications that are covered by OHIP+.
If you have private insurance, some drugs not covered by OHIP+ may be covered by your insurance plan.

The Exceptional Access Program (EAP) may enable access to some medications for which no appropriate alternative is covered by OHIP+. Your healthcare provider is required to submit a request on your behalf. If approved, the full cost of the medication will be covered. Visit www.ontario.ca/page/applying-exceptional-access-program for more information on EAP.

How do I get an Ontario health card?

An Ontario health card is required to receive OHIP+ coverage.  For more information on getting an Ontario health card, visit www.ontario.ca/page/health-cards or contact a ServiceOntario Centre at 1-800-268-1154 (toll-free in Ontario only), 416-314-5518 (Toronto and GTA) or 1-800-387-5559 (toll-free TTY).

If my child is entitled to receive drug benefits through Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, will they be fully covered, or will they have a co-pay? si?

Children and youth age 24 and under who are eligible for the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program because they receive social assistance benefits, regardless of whether they have a private plan, will maintain their benefits through the ODB Program with no co-pay and no deductible.

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