WINNIPEG — Manitoba is lifting the 30-day supply limit on prescription drugs that was put into place in March to prevent stockpiling of medications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures took effect on March 19 as a way to ensure the supply of medications didn’t run dry as Manitobans refilled prescriptions for up to three months.
Many Manitobans expressed concern that the 30-day limit was increasing how much they had to pay in drug-dispensing fees to receive their medication, especially for seniors on fixed incomes.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen says, effective May 11, Manitobans who have prescriptions for long-term medications will be able to fill them as per their prescriber’s directions up to a three-month supply, if the drug is not affected by shortages.
“While this decision to restrict prescription fills to one month was necessary, we have been monitoring carefully the consequences and recognize the impact this has had on many Manitobans,” said Friesen.
“Our government acted early and announced shortly after placing the limit on prescription fills, pharmacare rates would be frozen at last year’s level, and users would see no increase to their pharmacare deductible.”
Working group to monitor drug supply
The province has also established a temporary COVID-19 drug shortage working group to monitor drug availability in Manitoba.
The group will be comprised of provincial officials, as well as representatives from Pharmacists Manitoba and the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba. The work of the group will be guided by Health Canada’s list of drugs in short supply.
The group will also solicit for proposals from industry, stakeholder groups and health-related associations to make evidence-based decisions in a collaborative format.
Pharmacare deductible can be reviewed
Those Manitobans who have faced a significant change in their income can have their Manitoba Pharmacare Program deductible reviewed. The annual deductible is based on a person’s income taxes for the current year. To request a view, call 1-800-297-8099, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.