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High strength opioid formulations in Ontario: By the numbers

Toronto, August 2, 2016

The ODPRN conducted a rapid analysis to inform current discussions on the utilizations of high strength formulations of long-acting hydromorphone, morphine and fentanyl and their usage among palliative care patients. The analysis reports prescribing trends in the ODB program between April 2014 and March 2015.

The analysis found:

More than 42 million long-acting opioid tablets or patches were prescribed during this time and reimbursed by the government.

Of those, almost 11% were high strength – the ones the Ontario government plans to stop funding, or “de-list” in January 2017.

Government-funded long-acting opioid tablets and patches were prescribed to 87,453 people in the year studied.

Of those, almost 16% had received at least one prescription for a high-strength opioid, or 13,695 people.

62,602 people received palliative care in Ontario over the study period.

In this population, 42.5% were treated with opioids that were reimbursed by the ODB program, but only 2.7% received high-strength opioids.

9/10 people in Ontario who receive government reimbursement for their prescription high-strength, long-acting opioid tablets or patches are not palliative care patients.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About About ICES

ICES is an independent, non-profit organization that uses population-based health information to produce knowledge on a broad range of health care issues. Our unbiased evidence provides measures of health system performance, a clearer understanding of the shifting health care needs of Ontarians, and a stimulus for discussion of practical solutions to optimize scarce resources. ICES knowledge is highly regarded in Canada and abroad, and is widely used by government, hospitals, planners, and practitioners to make decisions about care delivery and to develop policy.

Media contacts

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leslie Shepherd
Manager, Media Strategy, St. Michael's Hospital
416-864-6094
shepherdl@smh.ca

Kathleen Sandusky
Media Advisor, ICES
kathleen.sandusky@ices.on.ca
(o) 416-480-4780 or (c) 416-434-7763