TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Pharmacists' Association, which represents Ontario's 13,600 pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training, expressed its disappointment with the announcement earlier today that Ontario will join other provinces in lowering the price it pays for some generic drugs dispensed to the province's seniors and other patients who receive social assistance. While the economic impact on community pharmacies is still to be determined, without reinvestment of the savings into more pharmacy-based services, patient care provided by pharmacists may be negatively affected.
"We were surprised by today's announcement, as the continued erosion of pharmacy revenues seriously affects pharmacists' ability to provide the health care services allowed under our newly expanded scope of practice for which we receive no incremental compensation," said Billy Cheung, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. "While we recognize that patients will benefit from lower generic drug prices, Ontario already has the lowest prices in Canada, and just last April our pharmacists were asked to accept lower prices to help pay for some of the 2012 budget commitments."
Those expanded services include the ability to renew and adapt prescriptions in order to ensure patients have the therapy they need while they wait to see their physician, prescribe drugs for smoking cessation, perform procedures on tissue below the skin, and administer drugs by injection and inhalation for the purposes of demonstration and education. That most of these new professional services were implemented without any additional compensation for the work pharmacists do to help patients means that pharmacists must continue to rely in part on the dispensing of medications in order to sustain their practices.
"By continuing to reduce the price of generic drugs, the primary revenue source for most pharmacists is diminished, leaving pharmacists little time to focus on providing valuable front-line care to people in their community. These services help take pressure off of other parts of the healthcare system, keep patients out of acute care, increase medication adherence, and improve overall health outcomes" says Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. "We would prefer to focus our efforts on being fairly compensated for the work pharmacists do to help patients and save money for the health care system. We will continue to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to ensure pharmacists are fairly compensated for the health care they provide patients, in line with pharmacists in other provinces."
About the Ontario Pharmacists' Association
The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association that represents the views and interests of more than 13,600 pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training across the province. The Association works to inspire excellence in the profession and practice of pharmacy, and to promote wellness for patients.
SOURCE: Ontario Pharmacists' Association
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