EDMONTON, March 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Yesterday as part of Budget 2013, the Alberta Government announced plans to reduce generic drug prices from 35% to 18% of brand name drug prices effective May 1, 2013. Representatives from the Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA) and community pharmacists were shocked when such a dramatic decrease was announced without consultation of the profession.
Patrick Rurka, a pharmacist from Rimby, responded to government's announcement by stating "the cuts are so deep and so fast, it will be impossible for me to react quickly enough to ensure the sustainability of my pharmacy. My patients and community will be the real losers as the health services my pharmacy offers will be compromised. The patients' needs will either be off-loaded to physicians or will be left untreated."
RxA is deeply concerned for pharmacy as a profession, as this change will affect the ability of pharmacists to continue to provide high quality care to Albertans. The Association has heard from many pharmacists that they are very concerned for their patients and for the profession.
Affordable drug prices for Albertans is a move that is supported by RxA as it ensures that Albertans will have access to the drug therapy they need. Over the course of the past two years, the Association has supported the Government of Alberta as it decreased generic drug prices from 75% to the present day 35%. Historically, it has occurred in a controlled fashion which has allowed pharmacies to make the necessary adjustments to their practice, unlike the announcement made yesterday.
"Pharmacy has been more than willing to help government achieve their financial goals. However, I am gravely concerned with the government process that has recently taken place" said President Byron Bergh of RxA. "Pharmacists perform an important role by ensuring that Albertans have access to high quality medications and pharmacy services that support them in achieving their health goals. The government does not seem to be aware of the drastic effects it may have on the level of care pharmacists are able to provide to Albertans."
Traditionally, the revenue earned through generic drugs by pharmacies has offset the chronic underfunding of pharmacy services by government. This is significant as pharmacy fees have been unchanged since 2005 and have only increase $0.52 since 1991.
The Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA) promotes the value of pharmacists in supporting and advancing the health of Albertans.
- Advocate and advance the profession
- Engage stakeholders about the value of pharmacist services
- Advocate for appropriate compensation and recognition of pharmacists' contribution to healthcare
- Inspire excellence in the profession and pharmacist practice
- Support members by providing quality services and professional development
SOURCE: Alberta Pharmacists' Association
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Director of Communications
Alberta Pharmacists' Association