Winnipeg senior stuck paying triple for medication due to new 30-day supply limit

By | March 21, 2020

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg senior is questioning the provincial government’s recent move to limit the amount of medication a person can buy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dave Magrel wont be able to pick up 90 days-worth of his wife’s life saving medication like usual, instead he’ll have to leave his house three times and pay almost $1,000 more to get it.

On Friday afternoon, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, called for pharmacies to limit prescriptions given to clients to a one-month supply to avoid stockpiling.

Magrel, at almost 80 years old, said the decision has left him with a multitude of problems.

“How can you stockpile medication if the most you can order at any given time is three months worth,” asked Magrel.


Magrel said his Pharmacare plan has enough room for one more purchase before hitting its deductible.

Since Magrel can only buy 30 days-worth of the prescription, he’ll have to expense only one month’s worth of medication before hitting the plan’s limit.

Originally his next purchase of 90 days-worth of medication would have been paid for by Pharmacare, but now he and his wife will be paying out of pocket for two more months.

Magrel claims the drug costs $433 each month, meaning he’ll be paying almost $1,000 more because of the new limit.

Magrel said he’ll also have to pay for more dispensing fees on top of the already high price of the medication.

Dispensing fees are paid each time a prescription is filled out, which can cost up to $30. When ordering three times the amount of your medication, you effectively avoid paying the dispensing fee two times.


On top of paying more, Magrel is worried about leaving his house two more times than previously planned.

“Instead of picking up the prescription once, they’re making me go out three times,” said Magrel.

“They’re subjecting me, a 78-year-old, they’re exposing me to a virus that is possibly deadly to me.”

He said he knows some pharmacies deliver, but the drug is 30 per cent cheaper at Costco, which doesn’t.

Magrel said the 30-day limit wouldn’t be terrible if it exempted seniors.

“It wouldn’t have been bad if they said anyone 65 or over, the restriction won’t apply,” he said.

Magrel sent a letter explaining his predicament to Roussin.

The prescription limit was just one of many changes listed when the Manitoba government declared a state of emergency.

READ MORE: Manitoba declares state of emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic

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