Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blue Cross, pharmacies still discussing agreement

From the Moncton (NB) Times and Transcript:
Medavie Blue Cross officials are still meeting with representatives from various pharmacies in New Brunswick this week to determine if the two sides can come to an agreement over how much pharmacies should be reimbursed for certain types of drugs.

The contract between Blue Cross and pharmacies in Atlantic Canada expires this year. One part of that agreement is the payment schedule, which indicates how much the company will reimburse pharmacists for filling specific prescriptions.

Yesterday, Medaview Blue Cross issued a news release in regard to media coverage the dispute has received. In it, senior vice-president of the company Laurier Fecteau said the insurer recognizes the importance of pharmacies to the community, but "our commitment is to ensuring sustainable drug programs for our policy holders across the region."

"The new payment schedule does have pharmacies being paid less for certain types of drugs, however, it is designed to reflect ongoing changes in the pharmaceutical landscape that sees pharmacies paying significantly less for generic drugs once rebates from manufacturers of these drugs are applied. We are trying to ensure Atlantic Canadians who rely on Blue Cross for coverage can enjoy some of these savings," Fecteau explained.

Pharmacies say these rebates have been a part of their business model since the dawn of the pharmaceutical industry and that they are simply a part of doing business that help a pharmacy continue to offer its services. ...more

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