Monday, February 1, 2010

Hey Ontario, why can't you be more like Alberta?

The article below is cut and pasted from the Canadian Healthcare Network's website (but you may need to log in to view I inserted it below)

This is kind of what I've been talking about. Except it's a resolution that kind of makes sense for the future of pharmacies. Although it will never be like it was 10 years ago, it's better than things look....

Alberta pharmacy agreement inked
Written by Barbara Kermode-Scott on January 29, 2010

Collaboration has proven key in negotiating a good deal for Alberta’s pharmacists, pharmacies, public, patients and provincial government, argues Margaret Wing, acting CEO of the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA).

“This is a great story,” said Wing in response to the Alberta government’s January 28 announcement of a new pharmacy funding and services model agreement for the province. “We feel that the collaborative approach is what has helped us achieve this agreement… Other provinces need to learn from what Alberta did that collaboration is a great path. It’s better than fighting!”

In October, 2009, a joint Ministry-pharmacy transition team was established in Alberta to seek a common approach to addressing prescription drug costs, rising drug utilization, and the need to maintain a solid economic foundation for community pharmacies. The goal was to identify and implement a sustainable, long-term model for pharmacy services and compensation, and to address transition issues arising from phase two of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy. This group included representatives from RxA, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS) and Alberta Health and Wellness. Together, RxA and CACDS memberships represent more than 90% of Alberta community pharmacies, says Wing.

Other provinces need to learn from Alberta that collaboration is a great path. It’s better than fighting!”

Phase 2 of Alberta’s provincial pharmaceutical strategy is a win-win, suggests Wing. Patients will benefit as they will have access to lower priced generic drugs and a wide array of pharmacy services. Pharmacies win as they will have stable, predictable, sustainable funding over the coming years, and the government wins as they will reduce rising prescription drug costs.

“The government showed real leadership on a challenging issue,” said CACDS chair Mark Dickson. “The need to modernize pharmacy funding and services is not unique to Alberta. But the solution and co-operative nature of our discussions show that this province understands the growing importance of community pharmacy care, and that the government wanted to build a system that would serve Albertans well over the long-term.”

On April 1, the price of currently available or existing generic drugs will be reduced from 75% to 56% of the price of comparable brand name drugs.

The Alberta Government anticipates saving about $100 million through reduced new and existing generic drug prices as well as through other related cost saving initiatives contained in the pharmaceutical strategy.

Under the new agreement, Alberta Pharmacies will have a new remuneration model that goes beyond fee for service to compensate pharmacists for additional services they offer, such as patient consultations, medication reviews and immunizations.
The government is providing $75 million over three years to help pharmacies move to the new compensation model. Through the transitional allowance government will provide additional payments to pharmacies on top of their current $10.93 dispensing fee for prescriptions less than $75:

* $3 per prescription ($13.93) from April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011
* $2 per prescription ($12.93) from April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012
* $1 per prescription ($11.93) from April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013

Rural and remote pharmacies will be eligible for additional funding based on criteria such as proximity to an urban centre and number of pharmacies in the community. The Alberta Government has established a $5 million fund for this purpose.

The new payment model will be announced later this year after a pilot project has been completed and evaluated.

More information regarding Alberta’s Pharmaceutical Strategy can be found at:


  1. Hello! This is completely unrelated to your post but I just wanted to leave a comment letting you know how much I enjoy your blog. I am pre-pharmacy right now and have been loving the variety of pharm blogs out there, yet have been lacking some Canadian content. I'm going to school on the prairies and was thrilled to find your blog. Keep posting! :)

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