New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Prescription incentives will be outlawed in N.B.

Prescription incentives will be outlawed in New Brunswick.

Key Takeaways:

  • For some pharmacy-related transactions, the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists has voted to prohibit pharmacies from offering client incentives such as cash, prizes, vouchers, or points.
  • The college allows pharmacists to place a sign in their store requesting customers or patients to contact them if they have any problems.

Prescriptions, as well as pharmacy services, will no longer be eligible for incentives in New Brunswick.

At its AGM on Saturday, the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists decided to prevent pharmacies from offering customer incentives such as cash, prizes, vouchers, or points for certain pharmacy-related transactions.

The regulatory change takes effect on July 13 to provide pharmacists time to alter their offerings.

The New Brunswick College of Pharmacists registrar, Anastasia Shiamptanis, said, “This decision has been in the works for several years.”

Consumer incentives for prescriptions, including pharmacy services, were first raised as a potential issue, according to Shiamptanis, when the college issued a new code of conduct in 2016.

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She claims that the epidemic moved the college’s focus for several years but now is the ideal time to make the switch.

A policy that is applied uniformly throughout the country

New Brunswick is the sixth province to implement this legislation, which has become a national trend.

Consumer prescription incentives are already forbidden in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador.

“Pharmacy professionals have been playing a larger role in guaranteeing timely access to health care in the community,” Shiamptanis explained. “Delivering a health-care service is truly a conflict of interest, or it would be unethical to pay a form of incentive to somebody for providing health care.”

Prescription incentives will be outlawed in New Brunswick.
Prescription incentives will be outlawed in New Brunswick. Image from Drug Channels

‘Principles and ethics’ guided the decision-making process.

She said that about 80% of members voted in favor of the regulatory change at the annual general meeting.

Those opposed, according to Shiamptanis, expressed concerns about not knowing what would be included in the clause.

Those in favor of the reform praised that it would allow New Brunswickers to choose which pharmacies to visit without being influenced by incentive programs and that pharmacists will not be questioned about professional ethics related to incentives.

“This is about pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services being a sort of health care and trying to protect and give them the importance they deserve,” Shiamptanis explained.

“We recognize that this may put certain people at a disadvantage regarding any potential incentives… Finally, we let our values and ethics guide us in making this decision.”

She warned that customers might retaliate against pharmacists, and the college is concerned about this.

The college gives pharmacists the option of posting a sign asking consumers or patients to contact the college if they have any issues.

Source: CBC News

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