Provincial spending on drugs increases, says University of Toronto study

September 20, 2001

Spending on psychiatric drugs in Ontario has risen dramatically in recent years due to increased use of newer, more expensive medications, says a study published in the September issue of Psychiatric Services.

The researchers analyzed claims to the Ontario Drug Benefits Program between 1992 and 1998 and found that expenditures on antidepressants, antipsychotics and anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs) increased by 216 per cent.

"The fact that more people are using the newer, more effective, more costly drugs is not necessarily a bad thing because it could mean that a larger number of people are getting the treatment they need," says lead author Carolyn Dewa of the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. "But our health care system has to find a way to balance the benefits of these medications with the rising costs."

While total spending on drugs in Ontario is divided among employer-sponsored insurance, individual out-of-pocket payment and public benefits, the study focused on costs in the public program because they are readily accessible and reflect overall spending, she adds.

Canada's price controls on prescription drugs will not insulate the health care system, employers or individuals from the burden of this expense, says Dewa. "This trend highlights the importance of drug benefit coverage, especially for individuals who have low incomes and households that do not qualify for public benefits and do not have access to employment-related insurance. The reality is that the growing number of people taking these drugs means growing costs and we have to think about issues of accessibility and affordability."
CONTACT: Professor Carolyn Dewa, Department of Psychiatry, 416-535-8501 x 4101, or Megan Easton, University of Toronto public affairs, 416-978-5948,

University of Toronto

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to