Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott said Thursday that she is “aware” of the pharmacy fraud brought to light in a Global News/Toronto Star investigation, adding: “It is something that I take very seriously.”
The investigation exposed pharmacists who are overbilling the Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB) and, at times, pocketing hundreds of thousands, — if not millions — of dollars.
“We want to know what’s happening and then what steps need to be taken by the College (of Pharmacists) or by the ministry so it’s probably going to be on both sides that action will need to be taken,” said Elliott.
When asked what steps might be taken, Elliott was vague on details.
The Office of the Auditor General of Ontario has previously called out the ministry on four occasions for having too few inspectors.
“There are 4,200 pharmacies; they only inspect about six per cent a year,” said current auditor general Bonnie Lysyk in an interview. “There’s more money to be recovered.”
“That might be one of the solutions,” said Elliott. “We’re still discussing the situation with the ministry.”
Lysyk said the AG report identified $3.9 million in 2015-16 in inappropriate payments made to pharmacists through the ODB, including $900,000 in billings related to prescriptions being filled for deceased people.
Read the full article at Global News