Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pharmacists want remedy for problematic overhaul

From the Guelph (Ont.) Mercury:
These days, pharmacist Carla Bradshaw wonders why she's in her profession.

Since Queen's Park overhauled the Ontario Drug Benefit program in late 2006, independent pharmacists like Bradshaw have seen their earnings plunge to the point many are closing up shop or selling out.

Bradshaw, who operates Remedy's Rx in the medical complex on Guelph's Westmount Road, is tempted to follow suit.

"It's hit hard," said Bradshaw, who has owned the business for nine years. "It's barely worthwhile for me to stay open as an independent pharmacist."

The changes that came into effect in October 2006 under Bill 102 reduced the government's cost of providing drug coverage to 2.2 million Ontarians. Among those, the list included seniors and people on disability support or social assistance.

The estimated yearly savings to the government is $277 million on the $3.4 billion it spends on drugs.

The changes reduced the markup pharmacists get for selling the products of manufacturers of generic drugs, which are less expensive copies of brand-name medicines. That dropped to eight per cent from 10 per cent, the Independent Pharmacists Association of Ontario reported. ...more

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