For Immediate Release April 12, 2011
Fair drug pricing law not so fair for pharmacists and patients
DARTMOUTH, NS - Nova Scotians who turn to pharmacists for many health services should be worried about the impact of the government's new drug pricing legislation.
Rose Dipchand, President of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, said the provincial government is making substantial changes to the price of generic drugs without adequate consideration for the impact that this will have on the entire business model of pharmacies across the province.
"Nova Scotia pharmacists have supported the government's desire to contain health care costs, but only if it does so in a manner that protects the viability of pharmacies and ensures our members' ability to deliver the healthcare services Nova Scotians have come to expect from their pharmacists," said Ms. Dipchand.
Dipchand noted that another flaw with the government's approach is its refusal to commit to paying fair dispensing fees or funding expanded professional services that the government has allowed pharmacists to perform.
"Drug prices are just one element of our business model. Dispensing related fees and professional services are also critical, yet the government has provided no commitment on either of these," added Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia Executive Director Allison Bodnar.
"We had asked for all of these issues to be considered in one comprehensive package, as it has been done in other provinces that lowered drug prices, but unfortunately this was not done."
On Friday, Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald spoke in favour of added responsibilities for pharmacists and technicians. Dipchand stressed that a greater role for pharmacists in health care to bring down overall health system costs and reduce wait times can only happen with a fair compensation package.
"Funding for these new services must be put in place immediately," said Dipchand. "Any lag time between lowering drug prices and any investing in new professional pharmacy services will put the viability of many pharmacies at risk."
The pharmacy business model has been dependent on the price of drugs for a long time. When the prices of drugs drop without adequate time to adapt to a new business model, other dramatic changes have to be made.
"We are seeing the impact in other provinces already; reduced pharmacy hours and services, closures, layoffs and reduced wages just to name a few," said Bodnar. "The government needs to slow down the implementation of this legislation and/or provide fairer compensation for pharmacy services or we will see the same thing happen in Nova Scotia."
The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) represents more than 1200 practicing pharmacists in Nova Scotia who work in the community, in hospitals, in nursing homes and clinics. Pharmacists receive at least five years of university training in all aspects of human health and medication management. Surveys indicate that pharmacists are the most trusted health professionals. They are the most accessible health care providers in our communities
For more information, please contact:
Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia
Phone: (902) 422-9583 x1