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Wildrose sounds alarm on rural pharmacies

EDMONTON, AB (March 12, 2013): PC government overregulation and mismanagement will lead to the closure of rural pharmacies and the loss of crucial health services for rural Albertans, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

In Question Period today, Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith and Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Joe Anglin both criticized the government for overbearing regulatory changes that will drive up the cost of doing business for rural pharmacists. “Pharmacies must be viable if they are going to serve their communities,” Smith said. “Changing fees, eliminating price flexibility and restricting revenue opportunities all contribute to a direct, real and immediate threat to their survival. Rural Albertans are in very real danger of losing their pharmacy services if this government doesn’t change course.” Over the last several years, the government has made numerous changes to regulations governing pharmacies, including reducing the generic drug fee they supply to pharmacists, cutting the fees they pay for additional services like flu shots, and removing the ability for pharmacists to collect extra compensation for carrying certain products. The net effect of the changes is a serious hit to pharmacies’ bottom lines, Anglin said. “The new funding model put in place by this government is backfiring,” he said. “They are destroying a rural pharmacies’ ability to recover costs which ultimately will result in several thousand Albertans losing access to what is for many a critical health care service.”