Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Prescription for disappointment: Inside a city pharmacy

From the Toronto Star:
It’s just after 10 in the morning when a couple of regulars drop by the West Hill Pharmasave in Scarborough to pick up their prescriptions.

Owner-pharmacist Neil Bornstein is steering retired nurse Norma Tuttle toward the cheaper private label brand of baby aspirin while summoning a staff member to address a problem with her Glucometer, a device that measures blood sugar levels.

“I come here because he knows me,” Tuttle, 70, says of Bornstein. “I want my pharmacist to know my name.”

Bornstein says a lot of people choose to deal with independents because he may not be able to provide that level of personal service in future under the province’s proposed drug reforms.

The Ontario government plans to slash $750 million in professional allowances pharmacists receive from generic drug makers, part of a plan to cut the price of those drugs in half.

The cuts, which the government says will bring Ontario’s drug prices in line with other jurisdictions, will hit pharmacies across the province, whether they’re independently owned, part of a national chain, or housed in supermarkets or discount department stores.

The industry says independents like Bornstein, who account for 51 per cent of the Ontario market, will be hit hardest. ...more

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