The Ontario government is looking at a proposal to make medical treatment for the common cold, asthma and a number of other conditions available without a prescription.
In a draft policy document released Wednesday, the Liberals have proposed allowing people to receive an experimental treatment that would “allow them to avoid the use of costly, time-consuming and invasive medical treatments that can be more costly and time-intensive to administer.”
The plan is a way to make things simpler for people who may not want to go to the doctor for their health problems.
But the Liberals say it would allow more people to take the experimental treatment, and it would also help people with a medical condition who may be experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, pain or vomiting.
A spokesman for Health Minister Deb Matthews told CBC News the government will discuss the proposal with Ontario’s health authority, Health Sciences Centre, in the coming weeks.
He said the government is working to create a framework that would ensure the treatment is available to all Ontarians.
“We are very interested in making sure that Ontarians can get the treatment, that they are able to get it and they can be confident that it’s safe for them to take,” he said.
New guidelines released by the Ontario Ministry of Health have been met with skepticism from some health experts.
They say it’s unrealistic to expect people to spend thousands of dollars on medical treatment to get a “treatable condition.”
“The notion that it would be a viable, easy, quick, inexpensive and safe way to address the very real concerns of patients is a very unrealistic one,” said Dr. Michael O’Sullivan, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto’s School of Medicine.
He added that the use case for the drug is unclear and the cost is significant.
In an interview with CBC News last year, O’Brien said he believed the new treatment could be useful.
“You can’t get this drug through any government system, so the public really needs to be consulted, to make sure it’s really something that is safe and effective for everyone,” he told the network.
“It’s a very ambitious plan.”
Health Minister Deb Davis, who is leading the government’s effort to reform the medical system, said the proposal is about making the system more efficient.
“What we’re really trying to do is to ensure that when people go to a doctor, it’s the best choice,” she said.
“And if you think of a lot of things that are in the system that are expensive, complicated and complicated to do, then we really want to simplify that and make sure that you can do what you need to do and not have to go through that.”
The Liberals have said the new drug will not have an effect on people with underlying medical conditions, such as cancer or epilepsy.