Pharmacy in Canada: A quick look at pharmacy funding across the country

August 20, 2019 The Tablet
map du canada

Without exception, pharmacy across Canada is currently in an era of funding cuts, where any new source of revenue is likely to be offset by reductions. Provincial governments across the country are looking at the drug budget line as one that can easily be cut to find savings.

B.C., once a leader in scope of practice for pharmacists, is now poised to become the only province without pharmacist-prescribing for minor ailments. However, even though the pharmacists’ scope of practice is quite limited in B.C., most Canadian provincial governments that authorize pharmacist-prescribing for minor ailments do not pay for these services.

The only provincial governments who pay pharmacists for this work are Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec. Saskatchewan, the most positive province for pharmacy, in part due to the rural nature of its population and limited access to physicians, has also fallen into the habit of looking at the pharmacy sector to help save health-care dollars only through the lens of generic price reductions rather than using a solutions-based approach where funding and savings would not all come from the pharmacy services division.

And while an April 1, 2019 announcement heralded Saskatchewan pharmacists’ ability to “prescribe” methadone and Suboxone as a big step, that authority is limited. Pharmacists’ “prescribing” must be a continuation of treatment previously prescribed by specific doctors, and they can only continue treatment if the patient is currently a patient at their pharmacy. The patient also had to have been prescribed either medication between Jan. 1, 2019 or March 31, 2019. This temporary Subsection 56(1) class exemption expires on Sept. 30, 2019.

There is hope that the timeframe will be lifted.

 

British Columbia
Dispensing Fee - $10
Dispensing public THN kits - No public funding
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - No
Medication Reviews - Yes - $60 to $70 per review
Immunization - Yes - $10

Alberta 
Dispensing Fee - $12.15
Dispensing public THN kits - $12.15
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - any Schedule I drug
Medication Reviews - Yes - $60 per review
Immunization - Yes - $13

Saskatchewan
Dispensing Fee - $11.60
Dispensing public THN kits - No public funding
Prescribing for Minor Ailment- Yes - 20 ailments
Medication Reviews - Yes - $60 per review
Immunization - Yes - $13

Manitoba
Dispensing Fee - Up to $30
Dispensing public THN kits - No public funding
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - 12 ailments
Medication Reviews - Not funded
Immunization - Yes - $7

Ontario
Dispensing Fee - $8.83-$13.25
Dispensing public THN kits - $10
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Proposed
Medication Reviews - Yes - $60 to $150 per review
Immunization - Yes - $7.50

Quebec
Dispensing Fee - $8.63-$9.64
Dispensing public THN kits - $18.59
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - 12 ailments
Medication Reviews - No
Immunization - Proposed

New Brunswick
Dispensing Fee - $11
Dispensing public THN kits - No public funding
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - 32 ailments
Medication Reviews - Yes - $52.50 per review
Immunization - Yes - $12

Newfoundland and Labrador
Dispensing Fee - $11.96-$50 
Dispensing public THN kits - No public funding
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - 23 ailments
Medication Reviews - Yes - $52.50 per review
Immunization - Yes - no funding

Prince Edward Island
Dispensing Fee - $11.65
Dispensing public THN kits - No public funding
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - 10 ailments
Medication Reviews - Yes - $52 to $65 per review
Immunization - Yes - $12.36

Nova Scotia
Dispensing Fee - $12.10
Dispensing public THN kits - $25
Prescribing for Minor Ailment - Yes - 31 ailments
Medication Reviews - Yes - $52.50 to $150 per review
Immunization - Yes - $12

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.