When will Canadians finally be able to buy prescription drugs online?
A number of provinces are introducing online prescription drug buying.
The federal government is also in talks to establish a new system for buying drugs through a mail order pharmacy.
A number are also considering new online purchasing schemes that would let customers get prescription drugs from a local pharmacy, rather than through a federally regulated one.
But none of the major provinces are expected to offer such a system until at least 2019.
The federal government’s new online prescription ordering system, called the Prime Minister’s Plan, is set to be unveiled on Thursday by Health Minister Rona Ambrose.
But the proposed system won’t come into effect until 2020, when the government proposes a national prescription-drug plan, which the provinces are now considering.
Currently, people in Ontario can get a prescription for an anti-depressant by calling 1-866-859-8387.
A prescription for a drug for cancer can be mailed to a doctor at the Ontario Cancer Centre.
Under the proposed plan, a new online ordering system would allow Ontario residents to buy an anti, anti-anxiety and a painkiller from a licensed pharmacy.
If a patient chooses not to order from a federally licensed drug supply chain, he or she would still have to pay the full price of the prescription.
The cost would be paid by the provincial government.
When asked whether Ontario residents would be able see prescriptions online, Ambrose said the province is still discussing with the federal government about how the system would work.
“We’ll be working with the provinces on what that system looks like, what services would be available,” she said.
There are two types of online ordering, one that allows a patient to pay directly to the pharmacy and another that allows for a third-party payment.
An online pharmacy can be set up to accept cash, cheques, credit cards and credit cards from a variety of sources.
A customer would need to submit a payment request to order the medication.
The payment will be sent via an email to the account of the pharmacist.
The prescription would then be sent to the province through a courier service, which could take up to two weeks.
Some pharmacists have told the Globe that they have been hesitant to accept the payment because of the risk of fraud.
As part of the proposed online prescription system, there would also be a mechanism for customers to opt out of paying a certain amount per prescription.
Consumers who are worried about paying a higher price or losing their savings due to a higher-than-expected price will be able opt out by going to their local pharmacies and requesting a discount.
In an email, Health Canada said it is currently in discussions with pharmacists across the country about how best to offer the system.
Ambrose has said that a national online prescription-order system will allow the province to focus on providing access to prescription drugs for patients, which would be important given the province’s record of poor health outcomes.
Last year, Ambrose proposed a national pharmacare system, which she said would provide the province with a significant amount of cash for prescription drugs and would also help reduce costs.
It was not clear when Ambrose would introduce the online system.