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Alex Haagaard @alexhaagaard
, 13 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
I've had to make a ton of phone calls today, which has me feeling exhausted, ill and grumpy as fuck, so (for the millionth time), I'm in the mood to talk about medication access in Canada (specifically Ontario).
I take 40mg cetirizine each morning to control my MCAD symptoms. After speaking with my immunologist yesterday I am going to be taking that dose at night and adding loratidine in the mornings.
It will be a process of trial and error to work out my correct dose, but considering that I'm still really struggling with a lot of symptoms (particularly in relation to my cholinergic triggers), I'm starting out at 20mg per day.
Because I am on OntarioWorks, I receive the Ontario Drug Benefit which 'covers' my medication costs.
(This is the same programme which was recently implemented, to much laudation, for people under 25 years of age - and which was characterised in media as providing recipients with free medication. This is not true.)
What the ODB provides is coverage for medications on the ODB Formulary.
Cetirizine and loratidine, because they are available over the counter, are not on the formulary.
Last month, I applied through my GP to have my cetirizine covered by the Exceptional Access Programme. This application was denied, with no reason given, but presumably because the medication is available over-the-counter.
When I purchase cetirizine over the counter at my local pharmacy, it costs me $0.74 per pill.
My loratidine costs me $0.54 per pill.
Assuming that my starting dose of loratidine works for me, and that I never need to take an extra dose of it because of exposure to my mast cell triggers, that's a cost of $121.33. (And that is not a realistic scenario.)
I receive $60 per month to cover my non-room & board expenditures.
I have not met a single abled Ontarian who is aware that the ODB does not actually provide blanket drug coverage.
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