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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2012 Nov;38(6):559-66. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2012.694518. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

The cost of providing methadone maintenance treatment in Ontario, Canada.

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Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St. North, London, ON, Canada.



To estimate the cost of providing methadone maintenance treatment in Ontario, Canada, from the perspective of the public payer.


We analyzed a database of all patient clinic visits, laboratory tests for urine toxicology screening, and methadone scripts from a group of methadone clinics in Ontario. The database consisted of patient visits and visit information from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2009. We estimated the cost of providing methadone maintenance treatment as the sum of physician costs, laboratory costs for urine samples (toxicology screens), methadone costs, and pharmacy costs. Pharmacy costs include dispensing fees and markups. All costs are expressed in 2010 Canadian dollars.


The database consisted of 9479 unique patients. The average age on the date of the first recorded visit was 34.3, and among the patients 62.3% were male. There were 6,425,937 patient days of treatment and the total cost of all treatment-related services was approximately $99,491,000. The total cost was comprised of physician billing (9.8%), pharmacy costs (39.8%), methadone (3.8%), and performing urine toxicology screens (46.7%). The average cost per day for treatment was $15.48, corresponding to $5651per year if patients were to remain in treatment continuously.


The cost of providing methadone maintenance treatment in Ontario is comparable to estimates from the United States and Australia.


This information is important to policy makers for planning and budgeting purposes and as part of a full cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analysis of methadone treatment.

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