Thursday, November 27, 2008

Druggists afraid of squeeze on payments

From the Toronto Star:
Brampton pharmacist Ben Shenouda says it costs $10 on average to fill a prescription in Ontario, but the provincial government pays him just $7 for the seniors, welfare recipients and others who qualify for provincial drug coverage.

The owner of an independent pharmacy, Shenouda says he makes up the shortfall by using some of the "professional allowances" he receives from generic drug makers for stocking their products.

Ontario pharmacists fear those payments are under attack, as the government eyes the millions of dollars they received in allowances from generic drug makers. Under Ontario law, pharmacies are supposed to use the allowances to improve patient care, providing such things as flu and diabetes clinics.

This week, the federal consumer watchdog released a report that said Canadian taxpayers, consumers and businesses could save up to $800 million a year if the generic drug industry were more competitive. The Competition Bureau concluded the market would improve if pharmacists passed on the allowances they get from generic drug makers to customers – something the bureau says rarely happens. ...more

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