City of Toronto councillors have problems; erectile dysfunction prescription payouts
City of Toronto auditor to take second look at employees erectile dysfunction prescription payouts
Sixteen employees exceeded more than one-a-day last year
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon
Submitted file photo
It’s impossible to say whether the $1.9 million that Toronto employees claimed to pay for erectile dysfunction prescriptions in 2015 were medically necessary — but Toronto’s Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler will be taking a second look at those and other unusually high drug plan claims to make that determination.
At the Friday, Oct. 28 meeting of Toronto’s Audit Committee, Romeo-Beehler said that it was important not to draw immediate conclusions about the apparently excessive drug plan claims by city workers.
But the claims did raise questions.
In her report on the city’s benefits plans, Romeo-Beehler noted that the city’s benefit plan has no maximum coverage limit for erectile dysfunction drugs, and some claimants took advantage of that.
Thirty seven had claims of more than $3,000 in 2015 and five were over $5,000 each. Sixteen had more than 13 months worth of once-a-day erectile dysfunction drugs in a year, and 65 had between 180 to more than 350 tablets in a year.
Audit Committee member Mary-Margaret McMahon (Beaches-East York Councillor for Ward 32) suggested that it was likely that some of those claimants were selling the drugs.
“Presumably one person is not consuming that amount themselves unless they’re going to the Guinness Book of World Records,” she said. “Something else is happening with the drugs.”
Romeo-Beehler said that if that’s happening the city could take legal and disciplinary action against the employees. But there’s not enough evidence to say yet.
“The claims are at least three times higher (than other employee drug plans) and that’s not to say they’re not medically justified, but it certainly raises a question in terms of why,” she said.
The claims that raise suspicions are not only sexual performance enhancing drugs. The audit found that employees had claimed $1.93 million in opioid pain relievers, $515,790 in sedatives, and $680,954 in stimulants between 2013 and 2015.
Sixteen claimants managed to gather between two and five years supply of oxycodone in at least a year, and 32 claimants had between 19 months and 6.7 years supply of Fentanyl patches over the course of a year.
The next step for the auditor general will be to assess the excessive claims with the insurer.