Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Shoppers pulls support from pharmacists’ group

From the Globe and Mail:
Jurgen Schreiber’s latest assault – this time on a former ally – is rattling an industry already grappling with unwanted drug reforms.

In the spring, the chief executive officer of Shoppers Drug Mart (SC-T38.870.120.31%) the country’s largest drug-store chain, waged an unsuccessful war over Ontario’s generic drug proposals and their big hit to pharmacies’ bottom lines. The changes are expected to be adopted to various degrees across the country.

Mr. Schreiber is now turning his guns on the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, one of the key groups that joined him in opposing the government reforms. About two weeks ago, Shoppers notified the association that the retailer would no longer cover the $500 annual membership fee for its 1,300 or so pharmacists who are members of the OPA. The Shoppers pharmacists are free to maintain their memberships, but they will have to pay the fees themselves.

“We have too many pharmacy associations – too many lobbying groups,” Mr. Schreiber said in a brief interview after addressing students at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management this week. “We have to have a very strong lobbying group. You have to pick and choose.”

At stake for the OPA is roughly $650,000 of annual membership fees that Shoppers pays on behalf of its pharmacists. The company’s pharmacists make up about 18 per cent of OPA’s membership. ...more

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