Uneven playing field in Quebec pharmacies

By | February 29 2016 09:44AM

CLHIA Quebec says people covered under private health plans are paying higher fees at the pharmacy, and is calling on the provincial government to address this inconsistency.

On Feb. 24, CLHIA-Quebec's president Lyne Duhaime took part in the consultation on Bill 81, which seeks to reduce the cost of certain medications covered by Quebec’s prescription drug insurance plan.

Deeply unfair

In her submission, Duhaime pointed out that someone with private coverage pays on average 17% more than someone covered by the province's general drug plan, even when the drugs are bought at the same pharmacy. "This disparity is deeply unfair to the 60% of Quebecers covered under private plans," she said.

Professional fees charged by pharmacists to dispense prescription drugs are higher for those covered by private plans, and CLHIA Quebec says this is the main cause of the disparity. "Since pharmacists' fees are not regulated, fees charged to the private insurance industry can be twice or even three times higher than those billed to the public plan, for the exact same drug and service", commented Duhaime.