Pharmacy Endorses Alberta's New Funding and Services Plan

Collaborative Approach Will Build Drug System That Works for Patients, Pharmacies, Government

EDMONTON, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - The Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA) and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS) stated that they strongly support the new pharmacy funding and services model agreement announced today by Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW).

The agreement, achieved over several months of discussions between pharmacy and the government, will help meet a number of key objectives shared by both parties:

    - Protecting and enhancing pharmacy services for Albertans
    - Reducing generic drug costs
    - Maintaining economic viability and innovation among community

"We have to commend the Minister of Health and Wellness and his officials for their commitment to real dialogue and the search for innovative solutions that work for Alberta," said Margaret Wing, Acting CEO of RxA. "They ensured broad pharmacy representation in the talks, and that the focus was on creating a stable, sustainable new model."

In October, 2009, a joint Ministry-pharmacy Transition Team, including representatives from RxA, CACDS and AHW, was established to seek a common approach to addressing prescription drug costs, rising drug utilization, and the need to maintain a solid economic foundation for community pharmacies. The goal was to identify and implement a sustainable, long-term model for pharmacy services and compensation, and to address transition issues arising from phase two of the Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy.

The Minster's announcement on generic drug pricing ensures that patients will continue to have access to the wide array of pharmacy services they depend on, and pharmacies will have stable, predictable funding while transitioning over the next three years.

"The government showed real leadership on a challenging issue," said Mark Dickson, Chair of CACDS. "The need to modernize pharmacy funding and services is not unique to Alberta. But the solution and co-operative nature of our discussions show that this province understands the growing importance of community pharmacy care, and that the government wanted to build a system that would serve Albertans well over the long-term."

The new framework marks the beginning of a transition period for pharmacists and their patients. As part of the agreement:

    - Pharmacies will be funded under a new model for pharmacy services

      The new model will go beyond fee for service for dispensing activities
      and will compensate pharmacists for spending more time advising
      patients and other health professionals about effective medication use.
      This will build on the foundation of traditional dispensing services,
      but will also make better use of the full scope of pharmacists'
      professional knowledge and skills, to protect patients' health and
      secure savings to the health care system.

    - A detailed implementation plan will be developed

      The Ministry and pharmacy will work together to ensure smooth
      transition to a new pharmacy practice model covering compensation,
      technology, regulatory and pharmacy workforce training.

    - A phased approach to support practice change

      To ensure the continued economic viability of community pharmacies, a
      transitional allowance will be provided to help pharmacies move to a
      new compensation model.

"We feel we've reached a solution that works for patients, pharmacies and the government, and that will contribute significantly to our shared efforts to control overall health care costs," said Margaret Wing.

RxA is a voluntary association formed to represent the professional and economic interests of pharmacy and pharmacists across Alberta. Since 2000, it has been our goal to promote pharmacists as Alberta's medication experts - accessible, knowledgeable and trusted.

CACDS is the national association that represents the community pharmacy industry in Canada. The retail members of CACDS are traditional chain and banner drug stores, grocery chains and mass merchandisers with pharmacies. In Alberta, more than 700 pharmacies are CACDS chain or banner stores. CACDS associate members include product and service suppliers to the drug store industry, including manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter remedies and medical devices, health and beauty aids, consumer packaged goods and general merchandise, wholesalers and distributors, media, marketing and research companies, among others.

Together, RxA and CACDS memberships represent more than 90% of Alberta community pharmacies.

SOURCE Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada

For further information: For further information: or to schedule an interview, please contact: Cynthia Rousseau, Director of Communications, Alberta Pharmacists' Association (RxA), (780) 990-0326, ext. 25

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