New Brunswick pharmacies will no longer provide consumer incentives for prescriptions and pharmacy services

18 June 2022

NEWS RELEASE      COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE 

June 18, 2022
For immediate release

New Brunswick pharmacies will no longer provide consumer incentives for prescriptions and pharmacy services

FREDERICTON, N.B. – At its annual general meeting in Fredericton today, the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists voted to remove consumer-based incentives for patients in relation to prescriptions and pharmacy services. This means that pharmacies in New Brunswick which provide incentives such as rewards on purchases will no longer be permitted to apply them to prescriptions or pharmacy services. Incentives will continue to be permitted on items not requiring a prescription.

New Brunswick becomes the seventh province to prohibit such consumer incentives on prescriptions and pharmacy services, along with British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, representing more than 90% of the Canadian population.

Incentives that will be prohibited for prescriptions and pharmacy services are rewards, gifts, including gifts of cash, prizes, coupons, points or other mechanisms in inducement or loyalty programs that can be redeemed for rewards, gifts, cash, prizes or other goods or services.

“Pharmacists are being called upon to play a larger role in Canadians’ health care,” says Anastasia Shiamptanis, the College’s Registrar. “That’s certainly the case here in New Brunswick. As our role evolves, it’s a growing view among regulators that consumer incentives for prescriptions and pharmacy services are unethical for the profession and are a conflict of interest. In fact, the vast majority of Canadians do not currently receive consumer rewards on prescriptions and pharmacy services for these very reasons. Patients are free to choose any pharmacy, of course, but this decision should be based on quality of care.”

“This change has been discussed for a long time,” says Adele Wallace, President of the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists. “The College must provide a regulatory environment where decisions about patient health care are based solely on the patient’s health with no other real or perceived conflict of interest. I’m very pleased that the New Brunswick College of Pharmacists is ensuring that patients will no longer be potentially influenced by incentives and rewards in choosing their pharmacy. Rewards should not be a factor in a patient’s decision in choosing a primary health care provider such a pharmacist.”

The regulatory change comes into effect July 13, 2022. The delay between the decision and implementation is to give affected pharmacies the time required to make the changes to internal point-of-sale systems in order to allow them to comply with the regulation. New Brunswick pharmacies not currently providing consumer incentives for prescriptions and pharmacy services are generally unaffected by this regulatory change.

Individuals who wish to receive more information on the regulatory change may consult the frequently asked questions.

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Media contact:

Karen DeGrace
Communications Manager
New Brunswick College of Pharmacists
506.857.8969
karen.degrace@nbpharmacists.ca

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