Pharmacists, Alberta Government Reach Interim Agreement To Develop New
Pharmacy Services and Funding Model

    Alberta's Community Pharmacies Credit Minister Liepert For Collaborative

EDMONTON, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - Alberta's Community Pharmacies (ACPh) and the Alberta Ministry of Health and Wellness have agreed to implement a collaborative process to establish a sustainable, long-term model for pharmacy services and compensation.

A joint Ministry-pharmacy Transition Team has been created, and will report back to the Minister by December 1, 2009. Alberta's Community Pharmacies will provide recommendations on how the current funding model should evolve, so as to achieve three key objectives:

    -   Maintain and enhance access to and quality of pharmacy patient care
        for Albertans.
    -   Ensure ongoing economic viability of community pharmacies in Alberta,
        as pharmacists' roles expand and demand for pharmacy care increases.
    -   Provide the Alberta government with world-class value for investment
        in pharmacy care and services.

"This is the beginning of an important process, and we are very encouraged by the willingness of the Minister and the Ministry to work together with us," said Margaret Wing, Acting Executive-Director of the Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA). "Pharmacy clearly understands the need for responsible investment during a time of fiscal restraint. On the other hand, we believe it is vitally important that the government also understand the risks to patient care and services, as well as the viability of community pharmacies, if the government were to move forward with cuts to pharmacy funding. By agreeing to this collaborative transition approach, they have shown that they've been listening, and we appreciate that."

The interim agreement is the result of ongoing dialogue between pharmacy and the Minister and his Ministry officials. It was formalized with a memorandum of understanding between Alberta Health and Wellness, the Alberta Pharmacists' Association, and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores. It commits the three parties to participate in a collaborative process to define a transition structure and plan for a new agreement, by December 1, 2009. In addition, the parties will develop and reach agreement on a comprehensive new compensation model by July 1, 2010.

"Our concerns were serious and urgent, and the government treated them as such by working hard with us to hammer out a fair and responsible process," said Russell Cohen, Chairman of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores. "The fact is that we have many common goals, and that was the starting point for our negotiations. You have to give Minister Liepert credit for understanding the data and concerns we brought to the table, and for being flexible and responsive. He has shown leadership and decisiveness, and that's just what's needed right now."

The interim agreement provides a framework for the parties to continue to work together to build a better pharmacy compensation system. Once the framework is completed, patients will benefit through continued excellent pharmacy care in their communities, pharmacies will have a stable and predictable funding basis, and the government will be able to fully realize the inherent cost-effectiveness of comprehensive pharmacy care and services.

Alberta's Community Pharmacies (ACPh) is an umbrella coalition that embraces all key organizations representing community pharmacy. ACPh includes the Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA), the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS), banner stores, large and small chains and independents. The coalition represents the unified voice of all elements of community pharmacy in Alberta.


For further information: For further information: Cynthia Rousseau, Director of Communications, Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA), (780) 990-0326 ext. 25; Mark Dickson, Vice-Chair, Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, (604) 961-3741 (mobile); Regional ACPh Spokespeople: Laurie Reay, community pharmacist, Edmonton, (780) 914-3128; Margaret Baril, community pharmacist, Didsbury, (403) 335-6070; Craig Brown, community pharmacist, Vermillion, (780) 853-5672; Bruce Winston, community pharmacist, Calgary, (403) 830-7596

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