I heard this on CNN last week and I have been thinking about it ever since. I just can't see how this would be helpful. Apparently this would cut down on trips to the doctor? I can't help but feel that this is going to become a huge problem with people skipping blood tests and picking up dangerous meds like they would purchase vitamins. Does anyone have any thoughts?
I could not agree more about the database. My doctor will refuse to refill my prescriptions if I do not come in to see him at least twice a year. I feel like it's worse than blackmail. "No, I don't have the money you need from the last time I visited, but I still need insulin!"
In the last instance, they transferred me to the financial office and made me pay $100 towards my bill from last year that I am trying to get paid off before they would schedule my appointment BEFORE they would call in a prescription for me! Then, when I arrived at the visit, I was "called back" to the "special desk" and had to pay another $100 to get my bill "current."
I don't understand how a doctor can refuse to call in a prescription for insulin--something you need to live! So yes, I think being able to get some diabetic meds OTC would be a great thing. I go to an awesome small-town type pharmacy and they know us pretty well there. If I ever had an emergency, I know they would help. But what if I'm out of town??
The only bonus to that visit was that when I told my doc I was completely out of Lantus, he got me a free vial as he wrote out my prescription. So I got about 3 months of Lantus for the price of 2...
In Ontario you can buy insulin in any form, vial or pen fill, without a RX. Over the years we have purchased Humalog, R, NPH, Levimir, NovoRapid all without an RX. You can buy syringes, pen tips, test strips, ketone test strips etc, all without an RX. I never buy any of those items on prescription. They are behind the pharmacy counter. I have to ask for them but I do not have to prove diabetes to purchase them. I do ask for a manual receipt which I submit to our insurer. Our insurer does not require an RX to reimburse the expense. I don't buy my son's diabetes supplies on a prescription which saves a $10 to $12 RX filling fee each pharmacy visit. I also buy my son's pump supplies without an RX. I buy the pump supplies on a 12 month automated pre-order, three months delivered at a time by courier to my workplace to save 15% of the total supply costs. The only item that I have had to provide an RX for is glucagon. Considering the fact that I make a trip to the pharmacy every other week for supplies, not paying the RX filling fee saves our drug plan $260 or more, a year.
I live in rural Ontario, not having to produce an RX to pick up any of my son's supplies means that on a work day I can go into one of the pharmacies between work and home. On a weekend I can go to the pharmacy in the nearest village to my home. If we are away from home I can walk into a pharmacy in a different city altogether, which I have actually done, when we were having high BG difficulties one hockey weekend and we wanted to rule out that his vial of insulin had not been compromised.
Being able to buy the above items without prescription has no impact on the number of blood tests that my son averages each day. It also has no impact on the number of visits to the doctor. In Ontario, insulin pump supplies are partially funded by the province to the extent of $200 per month. Annually the endocrinologist is required to complete a report confirming proper pump management to the provincial government, confirm a minimum of three endo visits per year, and minimum of 4 BG tests daily, no instances of DKA, etc.
Since its getting harder and harder to get a doctor here, its probably a good thing. The pharmacists will probabaly not just give them out, they'll likely ask lots of questions first. I'm sure they'll also be kept out of sight and it won't be common knowledge. Most people don't know you can get insulin, you have to ask and most pharmacists put you through a real grilling before they sell it to you. Same thing will syringes, etc.
I am split on this issue too. I can see it being helpful for someone like me, who prefers getting his medication without too much fuss and doctor appointments, but I realize that can be dangerous, for other people especially as well. I think that there does need to be a simpler system for people to get their drugs, but on the other hand, I don't think that we should eliminate all safety nets.
Given that our new doctor will not write prescriptions without an appointment, and it now takes 4 to 6 weeks to get that appointment, and if you have an emergency and forget, they charge you a fee to write a script or call one in, its going to get very expensive to be a diabetic. Being able to get them without a prescription will be a good thing for many people here who don't even have a doctor. At least it will cut down the cost, and enable us to get what we need if the doctor can't see us and we've run out of supplies. There won't be any coverage at all under these circumstances, but at least emergencies can be taken care of.
My mom, (another insulin dependent diabetic) didn't have a doctor for the last decade of her life. She had to go to after hours clinics and Emergency, for care and prescriptions, which they would sometimes refuse to write. Given that she had advanced dementia, AND diabetes, that was NOT a good thing.
I just wish that Trillium would cover them without the script for all diabetics, because right now anything without a script is out of pocket for low income families in Ontario. For example, there is NO coverage for insulin syringes or pen tips, alcohol swabs, yet they cover some insulins.
What are we supposed to inject it with I'd like to know? Pretty strange to cover insulin and not the syringes necessary to use it.
It costs thousands per year, out of pocket (not covered by Trillium), to survive this disease and live with a disability. (no private insurance and only partial coverage, with a huge deductable under Trillium).
The huge deductable is not because we have a high income. To the contrary, there are 2 of us, living on one senior's pension. The deductable went up because I needed a wheelchair lift and van lift so I could get to the doctor. So we had to cash in our RRSPs to pay for the necessary disability equipment. Because they don't take into account that the money is gone (used for medical neds), they think our income is up, and jacked our deductable way up.
This sort of stupidity causes hardship. Now some of the disability equipment we bought is not working, so we have to build a ramp, and pay for it ourselves. More money out of pocket, just gone! I am selling things to raise the money, because there is NO room in the budget for anything else. My husband will not be able to build it by himself, but I'm not even sure that anyone will give him any help. I certainly can't, other than finding the money and helping with the planning! :(
All I can say is, don't get sick, don't get older, and don't get poor!