Pharmacy Funding Gap Projected to Grow 22% by 2014

Could Reach $288,000 for Typical Ontario Pharmacy

TORONTO, Dec. 10 /CNW/ - According to a projection prepared for Ontario's Community Pharmacies, the shortfall in direct funding for pharmacy care and services will grow by 22 per cent in the next five years, reaching nearly $290,000 for a typical community pharmacy. This would amount to approximately 17 per cent of overall revenues for the average store.

The funding gap is the difference between compensation set by the government for pharmacy services provided to seniors and other Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program beneficiaries, and the actual cost to provide those services, plus a fair return on investment. The gap is growing each year. Dispensing fees set by the Ontario government have increased only 56 cents since 1989, and there is no direct funding for most of the health care services they provide.

"This shows the urgent need to modernize the pharmacy services and funding model," said Ben Shenouda, President of the Independent Pharmacists of Ontario. "Direct funding is covering less and less of our costs to provide health care services to patients. As a result, pharmacies are becoming increasingly reliant on indirect funding via professional allowances from generic manufacturers. And that's not a stable or sustainable funding model."

Need for new direct funding for pharmacy services

For pharmacies to be able to continue to provide the accessible health care services Ontarians rely on, Ontario's Community Pharmacies have emphasized the necessity of maintaining current overall funding levels, but to shift increasingly from indirect to direct compensation.

"Our discussions with the government over the last year have focused on creation and transition to a new framework for defining pharmacy services, and funding those services directly," said Nadine Saby, President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores. "We need to bridge the direct funding gap by reducing reliance on professional allowances, and ensuring that fees for dispensing and other health care services reflect the real cost to deliver those services to patients."

The Ontario's Community Pharmacies coalition is the unified voice of community pharmacy in Ontario, representing independent owner-operated stores, "banner" groups of independently-owned stores that work together, as well as large and small pharmacy chains. The coalition is supported by the associations and organizations that represent both the profession and the neighbourhood business of pharmacy, including the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, the Independent Pharmacists of Ontario, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Ontario Chain Drug Association.

SOURCE ONTARIO'S COMMUNITY PHARMACIES

For further information: For further information: Sara Feldman, Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, Office: (416) 226-9100 x 225; Ben Shenouda, President, Independent Pharmacists of Ontario, Mobile: (416) 566-7258

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ONTARIO'S COMMUNITY PHARMACIES

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