Retail News Breaks Archives
Campaign protests Ontario Rx funding cuts
April 19th, 2010
The effort includes an online video in which pharmacists stress the value of their services.
TORONTO – The Ontario Pharmacists' Association, Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and Independent Pharmacists of Ontario have kicked off a public education campaign to address the Ontario government's cuts in health care funding, including pharmacy reimbursement.
The pharmacy groups said Monday that the effort includes radio and print advertisements in communities across the province, with the first ads slated to appear today.
Financed by pharmacists across Ontario, the ads ask patients and the public to contact their local legislator if they want to help stop proposed funding cuts to front-line health care.
Patients and the public also are urged to visit the campaign's web site, www.stopcuts.ca. The site presents information about how the funding cutbacks will impact pharmacies, pharmacy operations and patient access to pharmacy services. It also provides social media tools for visitor comment and feedback, as well as a video of community pharmacists explaining the value of their services.
In addition, the web site has a button link that enables visitors to send an e-mail protesting the cuts to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and/or Deb Matthews, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
"Our patients are asking us why these front-line health care cuts are happening," Donnie Edwards, owner of Bioggio Edwards I.D.A. pharmacy in Ridgeway, Ontario, said in a statement. "We felt that as a profession we needed to stand up for our patients and encourage them to let the government know how much these cuts will hurt Ontario families.
"We owe it to our patients to do everything we can to stop government healthcare cuts and let the public know how they can reach out to their MPP [legislator]," Edwards added.
Under the Ontario government's measure, prices of all generic drugs purchased through the Ontario Drug Benefit Program would be cut from 50% to 25% of the cost of the original brand-name drug. Also, over the next three years, the cost of generic drugs bought out-of-pocket or through private employer drug plans would be more than halved to 25% of the cost of the original branded drug.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association also has noted that pending legislative approval, all professional allowances paid by generic drug companies to pharmacy owners for drugs bought through the Ontario public drug plan would be eliminated immediately, and all other professional allowances would be phased out by 2014.
Pharmacy operators have reacted swiftly to the proposed reducations. Katz Group's Rexall chain is instituting a hiring freeze, while Shoppers Drug Mart is cutting store hours.
Independent pharmacy owners under the Medicine Shoppe, Guardian and I.D.A. banners also have voiced concern about the cutbacks, saying the move will squeeze them financially and force them to re-examine their operations and services.