Free prescription drugs now available for anyone under 25
'I think we need to think very critically about who is this going to benefit the most'
If you're under the age of 25, your full prescription drug costs are now covered. With the start of the new year, the provincial government will provide access to free drug coverage regardless of family income or private insurance.
For 23-year-old Jordyn Severin, this new pharmacare program will save her more than one thousand dollars a year. While studying for her undergraduate degree she was covered under her parents drug care program.
She has since graduated and now runs a piano studio where she no longer has coverage.
"I think it is really great, I think it is going to help people my age out a lot as we are trying to establish ourselves," she said. "It's just an extra thing that we don't have to worry about."
Severin takes prescription medication for her skin. She has suffered for years with allergies which has led to severe eczema. Her last trip to the pharmacy cost her $200.
"I think we are really fortunate to live in a place where, when we are under 25 we have this to help us out," said Severin.
Tamara Kowalska runs The Windsor Youth Centre she says a large number of youth passing through the doors do not have prescription drug coverage.
At a time that we have an opioid crisis, I think we should be thinking very long and hard about prescription drug use- Tamara Kowalska, The Windsor Youth Centre
Kowalska says she has watched young adults get sick and unable to get the proper treatment they need because of financial burdens, but she is also wary about the future risks.
"It is very useful for those times that are needed," she said. "I think we need to think very critically about who is this going to benefit the most and why as a society are we not placing a priority on preventative health care."
Kowalska said the government should be putting money into subsidy programs from vitamins, psychiatric help and addiction counselling.
"At a time that we have an opioid crisis, I think we should be thinking very long and hard about prescription drug use, especially for those who are young," she said.
The program covers more than 4,400 medications for the province's four million children and young adults. Some of the drugs covered include asthma inhalers, insulin, seizure medications, cancer drugs, anxiety and depression medication and drugs for rare diseases.
The government projects the program will cost $465 million per year.