The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) expressed support for Canada’s premiers on the issue of healthcare sustainability, and stressed the importance for PT Premiers to act in close collaboration as the work of the Health Care Innovation Working Group (HCIWG) moves forward, particularly on such issues as pharmaceutical pricing and the use of technology and innovation, in ways that are affordable and enhance patient care.
Neighbourhood Pharmacies’ members are positioned on the solution side of healthcare reform, and are working with PT governments to develop and implement policy proposals that will lead to measurable health improvements in patient care across Canada through the optimal use of medications.
Justin Bates, CEO of Neighbourhood Pharmacies, noted that in the Premiers’ July 22 media release, the issue of health sustainability was emphasized. However, the issue of sustainability is not confined solely to PT health systems. Publicly funded programs like provincial and territorial drug plans rely on an equally sustainable network of distributors and pharmacy retailers. “In effect, neighbourhood pharmacies across Canada make the functioning of publicly funded drug plans possible. It is no exaggeration to say that our pharmacy retailers act as agents of these programs, providing the highest quality products and services, cost-effectively and efficiently, directly to Canadian patients”, said Mr. Bates. “We therefore believe that PT governments must also develop pharmaceutical pricing and pharmacy policies that will generate the savings they seek, without compromising the sustainability of the 9,000 pharmacies serving the needs of all Canadians.”
The Premier’s July 22 communiqué, “Health Care Sustainability”, stated that some $712 million in combined savings had been generated by the HCIWG from brand and generic price reductions. Neighbourhood Pharmacies supports a stable and predictable pricing regime that balances the patient needs with healthcare sustainability. Pharmacy has already made a major contribution to those savings over most of the past decade and while increasingly becoming Canadians’ go-to destination for a growing range of healthcare needs. As such, together we can do better, and at lower cost, by spending scarce healthcare dollars smarter. And, although it doesn’t meet the ‘system-wide’ criterion, treating patients in their neighbourhood pharmacies, closer to where they live work and play can deliver better treatment, better outcomes and better costs. Not for all conditions, but for carefully limited circumstances, such as vaccinations and the assessment and treatment of minor ailments.
Neighbourhood Pharmacies was pleased to note that the HCIWG counts its promotion of guidelines for treating heart disease and diabetes as an achievement. Pharmacists have already demonstrated their contribution to the public health system by providing seasonal influenza vaccinations, and they are ready and capable to take their place as front-rank members in team-based approaches to improved chronic disease management. Neighbourhood Pharmacies urges PT governments to more formally incorporate pharmacists into those strategies.
Finally, on a related issue, the Premiers discussed the significant impact on natural disasters on Canadians and their communities, and released a communiqué calling for improved disaster response, including the development of a new model for disaster response and recovery. Neighbourhood Pharmacies encourages all levels of government to work with healthcare system pharmacists and pharmacies in preparing for and responding to both natural disasters and industrial accidents. On the basis of their training and experience, pharmacists should play a key role in the planning and execution of pharmaceutical distribution and control and drug therapy management of patients when disasters strike. The expertise of pharmacists should be sought in developing disaster management guidelines, selecting pharmaceuticals and related supplies for national and provincial stockpiles, and local emergency inventories.
About the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada
The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada (Neighbourhood Pharmacies) is the respected voice and advocate for the business of pharmacy.
We represent the owners and operators of the country’s leading Neighbourhood Pharmacies brands, serving Canadians through chain, banner and franchised neighbourhood pharmacies, as well as grocers and mass merchandisers with pharmacies. We also represent the leading retail buying and banner groups serving independent pharmacies. Pharmacy suppliers – including pharmaceutical manufacturers, technology companies, data specialists, marketing companies and consultants – also participate in the organization as associates.