Inside This Issue - News
Manitoba may require disclosure of dispensing fees
March 17th, 2014
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Canadian province of Manitoba is considering requiring pharmacists to disclose their dispensing fees.
According to a report by CBC News, the provincial government’s governing New Democratic Party (NDP) is facing pressure to help consumers shop around for the best price on prescription drugs.
A survey by Royal Bank last year found that residents of Manitoba pay the highest average dispensing fees in the country. The fees range from $4.50 to $13 (Canadian) per prescription.
Delegates at a recent NDP policy convention passed a non-binding resolution calling for the government to protect consumers from “excessive fees and price gouging” by requiring pharmacies to display what they charge to fill prescriptions.
The resolution also urged the province to ban pharmacists from filling yearlong prescriptions in three-month increments — a practice that forces consumers to pay repeated dispensing fees — unless there is a medical reason to do so.
Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux has been asked to look into how to make dispensing fees more transparent to consumers, according to a ministerial spokeswoman.
Currently no other province requires pharmacies to advertise their dispensing fees. But the bylaws of the College of Ontario Pharmacists call for pharmacists to post their fees and break out the fee if they advertise drug costs, the spokeswoman told CBC News.
Ronald Guse, the registrar of the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba, told CBC News that the college has not been consulted by the government on this issue and added that there are already regulations governing how a pharmacy can advertise its fees and requiring a pharmacy to disclose the fees if asked by a patient.
“We’re not opposed to it; we just want to know more what they have in mind and what they’re trying to accomplish,” Guse said. “If it is to inform the public, we want to make sure the information the public is getting is helpful for them.”