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Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association
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CPhA Supports Premiers' Report But Raises Concerns Over Generic Drug Purchasing

July 26, 2012 (HALIFAX): The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) today expressed its support for the report by the Health Care Innovation Working Group released at the meeting of the Council of the Federation by Co-Chairs Premier Brad Wall and Premier Robert Ghiz. The report’s focus on innovation and adoption of pan-Canadian approaches with respect to team-based models of care, health human resource planning, and two clinical practice guidelines will lead to better patient outcomes and better health care for Canadians. The focus on primary health care teams recognizes the important role that pharmacists can play in primary health care.

The report also recommends the creation of a national competitive bidding process for generic drugs, which appears similar to a recommendation in 2010 by the Council of the Federation for a bulk purchasing scheme for drugs. Following that announcement in 2010, CPhA wrote all provincial and territorial premiers identifying the risks associated with such purchasing strategies; namely that they can lead to sole source production of drugs, which has been identified as a leading cause of drug shortages. Any purchasing plan adopted by provincial and territorial governments needs to make sure at least two to three suppliers remain in the market so the risks of a single source of supply are reduced. While drug prices are important, true value is realized through appropriate use of drugs, and some of the savings from purchasing changes need to be re-invested in new professional pharmacy services that have been shown to lead to better patient outcomes. As stated in CPhA’s August 2010 letter, every $1 dollar invested in new pharmacy services could result in $4 saved in the health care system.

“Overall, we applaud the leadership demonstrated by the Council of the Federation with this report and its recommendations with regard to clinical practice guidelines, team based models of care, and health human resources,” stated Jeff Poston, Executive Director of CPhA. “However, we do caution premiers to tread carefully with respect to drug purchasing to ensure that drug supply, which has been a huge concern in Canada over the past two years, is not negatively impacted. 

“Many provinces have already passed legislation expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists – this needs to be built on and change needs to be accelerated. Some of the savings from innovation in drug purchasing should be invested in accelerating the development of new pharmacy services to improve outcomes from drug therapy and improve access to care,” said Paula MacNeil, President of CPhA.

The Canadian Pharmacists Association was founded in 1907 and is the national professional voluntary association providing leadership to pharmacists in all areas of practice. Our members are active in community and hospital pharmacies, in long-term care facilities, home care, academia and industry.

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For more information, please contact:

Jeff Morrison, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs
Mobile: 613-523-7877 ext. 386
Email: jmorrison@pharmacists.ca

Update: In a Globe and Mail letter to the editor, Executive Director Jeff Poston explains the concerns of bulk purchasing from a supply perspective, and its effects on patients. For more on drug shortages, see our CPhA on the Issues section.