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Work needed to improve stability for pharmacies

EDMONTON, AB (April 2, 2013): Today, the Wildrose Official Opposition called for further action by the PC government to help prevent Alberta pharmacies from closing as a result of drastic new changes that came into effect on April 1. “We need to ensure the long-term viability of our pharmacies and that means working with the professionals on the front-lines,” Wildrose Seniors Critic Kerry Towle said.

 “This PC government needs to slow down, consult with Albertans who will be affected by these changes, instead of plowing ahead with major decisions that impact our healthcare system.” The PC government has made several changes to regulations governing pharmacies, including an unexpected reduction in the price pharmacies may charge for generic drugs. Industry leaders say these changes threaten the viability of pharmacies and may make some generic drugs therapies unavailable. It is estimated the average pharmacy will lose $200,000 to $300,000 if they are not permitted a longer time period to sell off existing inventory. The recent 30-day washout period announced by Health Minister Fred Horne last week fails to provide the long-term stability for pharmacists to continue to service their patients and for many pharmacists does not provide enough time to recoup lost costs. “There needs to be a higher ceiling to ensure that pharmacists who bought their drugs at higher prices are able to clear their inventory without facing any massive loses,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said.  “This is about putting Alberta patients first but this government continues to mismanage our healthcare system by implementing misguided policies without thinking of the long-term consequences.” The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association also warns the government's new pricing structure will price some drugs below their cost of production, which may mean some drug therapies will no longer be available in Alberta. Wildrose says the government needs to be forthcoming on what type of drug shortages there will be as a result of their new funding model. “Albertans deserve answers on how this government’s policy will impact their level of care and the professionals who provide their medication,” Smith said. Wildrose believes that the PC government needs to get back to the table and treat our pharmacists with respect. They are calling on the government to:

  • Extend the washout period to 90 days to allow full recovery of costs on inventory
  • Identify what drug shortages may occur with these changes and modify the pricing structure to ensure all patients can continue to receive the drugs they need without interruption
  • Extend the per prescription transition allowance for at least two years to allow an adequate period of time to move to the new funding model for pharmacy
  • Negotiate in good faith with pharmacists to reach a long-term solution that ensures the viability of local pharmacies that puts patients first