Friday, January 18, 2013

Independent Pharmacies served another Blow by Dunderdale Govt.

New Drug pricing policy for April of 2013 will continue to erode the viability of independent pharmacies in Newfoundland and Labrador.

These changes are subsequent to the (non)negotiations held last year with provincially chosen pharmacy groups - resulting in an imposed contract. The remuneration was supposed to reflect that generic drug prices would be reduced to 35% of brand.

The Dunderdale government has now signed on to a reduction for 6 generic drugs to a price of 18% of brand. These drugs represent approximately 20% of the pharmaceutical dispensing. Therefore the "contract" reached last year ties pharmacies to dispensing fees that will not in any way offset these additional reductions.

Further pharmacies, physicians, and other health care advocates are already warning that drug shortages are impacting patient care. This new reduction in price will increase the likelihood that drug shortages will become more acute.

The CICPO is holding its AGM this weekend - after which a News Release will be distributed. This year's Annual General Meeting will focus on results presented by Dr. Wade Locke regarding the future viability of the independent pharmacy model. Dr. Locke has completed the in depth study over the past 6 months - and it will be made public by month's end.

The future for independent pharmacy both in rural communities and inner-city neighbourhoods will in large part depend on the willingness of government to realize the value and potential of these businesses and primary health providers.

More to follow....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NL Independent Pharmacy Owners (CICPO) win National Award

CICPO Board at the Ritz Hotel Toronto to receive National Award
Celebrating the independent spirit...
The winners of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award demonstrate that leadership is very much a group effort, particularly when it involves the unique challenges faced by independent pharmacies.

Newfoundland and Labrador is an unusual market in that a significant proportionof its pharmacies comprise independents, unlike the rest of Canada (where independents make up less than 20% of the market). While the breakdown in pharmacy formats has little bearing in day-to-day operations and patient care, recent government reforms highlighted the need to bridge the geographic and communication gaps among independent pharmacies. Two priorities emerged: how to cope with deep pricing cuts for generic medications and how to provide more services that take advantage of new government funds (for medication reviews, for example).

A handful of independent pharmacists established the Council of Independent Community Pharmacy Owners (CICPO) in 2008. When they’re not running their own pharmacies and providing innovative
services to their patients, the members of the current board—Wayne Morris, Robert Doyle, Phil O’Keefe, Mary Byrne, Todd Squires, Doug Stanley, Beverly Vey, and Bill Simmons—log thousands of volunteer hours annually to support their peers during this time of transition and to advocate on behalf of their patients. “These pharmacists regularly help other pharmacies in Newfoundland and Labrador find their way under these new circumstances, to ensure the continuity of pharmacy
services to all people,” says Sue Kelland-Dyer, CICPO’s executive director. “They operate in very small rural communities and inner city neighbourhoods, bringing essential front line health care to all people, and further promote this vision on a day-today basis to government, insurance companies,
media, and the public at large.”

With almost 200 years of professional service among them, all CICPO board members seek out media exposure and have made presentations to government departments. Two of the board members
have sought political office. Their message is not just about the expanding role of the pharmacist, but also the expansion of care and resources for the management of chronic disease in general, to improve savings and health outcomes in the long run. In its first year of operation, Wayne Morris,
one of CICPO’s founding members, took up temporary residence at a hotel in St. John’s for 70 days in order to ensure his seat at the table during government negotiations.
Mary Byrne, another member, successfully lobbied for the removal of tobacco products from pharmacies. Doug Stanley dedicated himself to recruit physicians to serve his remote area. Throughout it all, using Facebook and one-on-one conversations, the board reaches out to other independent pharmacies to help them understand and respond to the ongoing changes in pharmacy’s business model and professional practice.

“This is a team effort that truly shows that change can only happen if people collaborate with each other and look out for our pharmacy profession as a whole,” notes one of the Commitment to Care judges.
—Karen Welds