CANADIAN PHARMACISTS DEFEND GENERIC REBATES
Canadian pharmacistsare firingback at critics whoaccused them ofshortchangingtheir generic prescriptiondrug patientsby pocketingrebates paid bymanufacturers toget their drugs onpharmacy shelves.The charges weresparked by a report from the CompetitionBureau of Canada, which concluded thatmany generic drug companies offerrebates to pharmacists in order to gainmarket access, but those savings are notfiltering down to patients in the form oflower prices.
According to the report, the rebatespaid to pharmacists by generic-drug makersaverage about 40% of the invoiceprice for each drug. Responding to thosefindings, the British Columbia PharmacyAssociation (BCPA) said the report failedto note that pharmacy services areunderfunded by governments, and thatwithout rebates, many pharmacists maynot be able to provide services at all.
"Without the income generated fromthe rebates coming from the generic manufacturers,necessary pharmacy serviceswould be going unfunded," BCPA ChiefExecutive Officer Marnie Mitchell said.
In British Columbia, pharmacy reimbursementhas remained frozen at $8.60per prescription since 2003, even thoughtoday it costs pharmacies an average of$13.60 per prescription to providepatients with medicines, dispensing services,and counseling, the group said. "Byhaving regular conversations withpatients about their health, and workingto optimize drug regimens, pharmacistsimprove the quality of life and health outcomesfor patients and keep them out ofthe hospital," Mitchell said.