Conseil de la protection des malades concerned whether pharmacists still be able to be autonomous vis-à-vis their banners?

Report exposes practices that encourage the sale of some drugs to the detriment of patient well-being

MONTREAL, June 10, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - With Bill 41 about to go into effect, the Conseil de la protection des malades (CPM) is concerned by some practices between drugstore banners and pharmacists, including the "compliance programs" and "drug supply agreements" in pharmacies. These concerns were outlined in a report it commissioned, entitled La pharmacie au Québec : une profession sous influence, by Paul Fernet, a partner and lawyer practicing litigation and pharmaceutical law at Fernet Avocats/Lawyers.

The report reveals the fact that pharmacists at times, or even frequently, inadvertently find themselves in a conflict of interest with their code of ethics and the Pharmacy Act: according to agreements between banners and owner-pharmacists, the latter are obliged to purchase exclusively from a distributor or wholesaler designated by their banner. They are also strongly encouraged and sometimes required to sell private-label generics over others in order to benefit the banner.

"Our priority is patients' interests. We need to take action and put an end to these practices before Bill 41 is enacted. When pharmacists will themselves choose a drug, how do we ensure that patients are not penalized in favour of the banner?" ask Paul Brunet, the CPM's chair. "Pharmacists should never participate in any program of their chain or banner that influences or could influence in any way the choice of prescription drugs or where they come from."

Since the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec is currently reviewing its code of ethics, the CPM is calling for it to put an end to compliance programs and drug supply agreements, i.e. the obligation for pharmacists to opt for private-label generics, a practice that undermines their autonomy. "It is absolutely essential that these professionals remain independent in their decisions and actions in their practice, focusing solely on the interest of patients," said Mr. Brunet.

Ordre des pharmaciens in 2013
Section 24 of the Pharmacy Act clearly stipulates that pharmacists are prohibited from substituting a prescribed drug with a drug manufactured by a company in which they have a direct or indirect interest.

And yet, in 2013, the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec called for the elimination of any form of compliance program and delivery of benefits related directly or indirectly to the purchasing of drugs, following an investigation by the RAMQ into McKesson and pharmacists, who allegedly received kickbacks. However, the two parties reached an amicable settlement.

About the Conseil de la protection des malades
The CPM is a private, non-profit organization that has been protecting and defending the interests of users of Quebec's health and social services network for more than 40 years. Through its federation of user and resident committees in Quebec, the CPM brings together numerous such committees in health and social services institutions across the province.


SOURCE Conseil pour la protection des malades

For further information: Paul G. Brunet, m.a.p., President and CEO, spokesperson, Cell: 514-592-0127, Conseil pour la protection des malades, 1000 Saint-Antoine West, suite 403, Montreal QC H3C 3R7, 514-861-5922, Toll-free: 1.877.CPM.AIDE, Fax: 514-861-5189,,; Marie-Christine Garon, 514-409-0031


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