On Sept. 20, the BC Pharmacy Association made a detailed submission on the proposed College of Pharmacists of BC bylaws.
Bill 6, passed by the BC government in 2016, requires the College create new bylaws to support the new legislation. These bylaws deal with direct and indirect ownership of pharmacies.
The College would collect information on all pharmacy owners, all officers, directors and shareholders of the pharmacy and of its parent corporation, and the pharmacy manager to determine whether the pharmacy owner is eligible to hold a pharmacy licence.
The law also specifies new and specific criteria for eligibility and a new application process. The criteria include each individual’s history of licensing, information and billing contraventions and professional discipline, certain types of civil judgments, and a criminal record history.
The biggest change, which goes into effect Mar. 1, 2018, is that the owner will not be eligible for a pharmacy licence if any one of the individuals fails to meet the eligibility criteria. It will then be up to the College’s Application Committee to decide if the circumstances are not relevant to the operation of the pharmacy and grant a licence with or without conditions.
The BCPhA’s submission recommended changes that would enhance the clarity, transparency and fairness of the bylaw and the processes followed by the College when the new pharmacy ownership requirements are rolled out. We urged the College to amend the bylaw to add some new definitions, to codify their practice of issuing licenses with effective dates when there is a change of manager and to clarify that certain duties of direct and indirect owners are supervisory rather than personal.
On two areas that will impact the fairness of the process we strongly advocated for amendments. A bylaw is necessary to ensure that a pharmacy may continue to operate if a direct owner becomes ineligible under the new proposed rules. This is absent from the current proposed bylaw. Failure to make that amendment will result in substantial unfairness and inconsistency within the structure of the bylaw itself.
We also reminded the College that fundamental principles of procedural fairness require the Application Committee to give licence applicants written reasons for its licensing decisions.