Over 5,000 patients registered on innoviCares program in two weeks, but not all have access to their brand medications

MONTREAL, Feb. 1, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Less than two weeks after Québec patients were provided access to the innoviCares program, over 5,000 patients have already registered, but some are disappointed that they cannot use their card to receive their prescribed brand name medications. By covering the difference in cost between brand name medication and generic alternatives, this program ensures the continuity of care for patients who have been prescribed a brand name medication.

"The pace of registration for innoviCares shows the demand from Quebecers for more patient choice, but we have seen some confusion and misunderstanding in recent media coverage on the innoviCares program, resulting in frustration for patients, pharmacists, and physicians," said Steve Nicolle, CEO of STI Technologies Limited, solution provider for the Canadian healthcare market and creator of the innoviCares program. While the RAMQ does not have a problem with the program, the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec has been asked for its advice by Québec's Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Réjean Hébert.

"To clarify, the innoviCares card provides patients the choice of receiving brand or generic medication at their pharmacy; it does not impact what their physician prescribes. Insurance coverage varies on an individual plan basis, with the recent changes regarding the 15 year rule, many patients on both private plans and the public plan are already benefitting from the innoviCares card", says Mr. Nicolle. "Additionally, the innoviCares program protects the privacy of all patient information and personal information is not shared with any participating pharmaceutical companies. We are fully confident the innoviCares program is compliant with all legal and ethical guidelines. Given the importance of this social issue, we are awaiting on the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec to give its advice to pharmacists on the matter. In the meantime, with the interest of Québec patients in mind, we encourage pharmacists to allow patients to make the choice to use the innoviCares card and receive the respective benefits."

Patients and healthcare professionals can call 1-888-806-6394, if they have any questions on innoviCares.

About the innoviCares patient benefit program

The recent changes in Québec provincial legislation, the elimination of the 15 years rule, came into effect on Monday, January 14, 2013. Therefore, the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) will no longer fully reimburse about 60 brand drugs that were, up until now, protected by this rule. The RAMQ will thus only reimburse the lowest priced medication, historically meaning the generic alternative.

It is here where the innoviCares program provides benefits and addresses the patients' interests and their medication therapy needs.  It provides Quebec patients, whether they are insured through public or private drug plans, with a new option, to continue on the brand medication they have been prescribed by their physician.

STI cards, such as the innoviCares card, are used by millions of people across Canada and accepted in thousands of pharmacies every day, including in Québec. Quebecers can now obtain, at no cost to them, a patient benefit card on the innovicares.ca website. The innoviCares card is designed to cover the difference in ingredient cost between the brand drug and the generic alternative. The patient simply presents his or her innoviCares card along with their prescription each time they visit their pharmacy to have their prescription filled.

About STI Technologies Limited

STI Technologies Limited is one of the largest transactional marketing companies in Canada and a supplier of innovative solutions for the country's healthcare market. Active in Québec for the past 10 years, this private company revolutionized the way pharmaceutical companies manage sample distribution by involving pharmacies in the process. More specifically, STI developed a card that bridges the four distinct worlds of the pharma, physicians, patients and pharmacy, and offers choice and affordable access to medications.


SOURCE: STI Technologies Limited

For further information:

To coordinate an interview:
Catherine Rose Cunningham / Bridget Ann Peterson
Massy Forget Langlois Public Relations
(514) 842-2455, ext. 33 / 26
Cell: (514) 713-1634 / 514-377-1752
ccunningham@mflrp.cabapeterson@mflrp.ca

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