The College of Pharmacists' ban on loyalty reward offers on pharmaceutical purchases was defeated in court last year but the regulatory body is appealing.

Pharmacy loyalty points, tobacco sales still in crosshairs of regulators

College of Pharmacists of B.C. aims to control retailers' conduct on health grounds

The regulatory body for B.C. pharmacists hasn’t given up on its agenda to ban pharmacies from handing out loyalty reward points on drug purchases, or to eventually ban cigarette sales.

A ban imposed by the College of Pharmacists of B.C. was struck down in B.C. Supreme Court last summer, but an appeal filed by the college will be heard in December.

The college argued loyalty points are a powerful lure for consumers that can alter their medication buying habits and potentially harm their health. It was fought in court by major supermarket chains.

The judge in the trial ruled the ban on all loyalty incentives was “unreasonable” and concerns raised were “illogical.”

College spokesman Mykle Ludvigsen wouldn’t comment on the grounds for appeal.

One of the objections raised was that insured patients who don’t pay out of pocket might continue to refill a prescription after they no longer need it just to collect more points and the unneeded drugs may be abused or diverted to the illegal drug trade.

Tobacco sales by pharmacies are also in the crosshairs of the college.

Ludvigsen said there is no specific timeline to impose such a ban but the college’s 2014 strategic plan calls for the board to pursue one.

“We’re the only province that currently allows cigarettes to be sold in premises that contain a pharmacy,” he said.

“It completely goes against the pharmacy as a health centre. To sell things we know kill you at the front of the store and to sell things that help you get better at the back of the store is a bit of a conflict.”

Retail chains have warned they would challenge the college’s jurisdiction if it moves to impose a tobacco ban and would also sue the college and its directors for lost sales that would result if their stores can’t sell cigarettes.

“The law does not take a positive view of activities which represent unwarranted restraint of trade,” says a letter to the college sent last fall by executives from London Drugs, Overwaitea Food Group, Safeway, Rexall, Sobey’s and Thrifty Foods.

Just Posted

Four-hour ferry delay on Buckley Bay-Denman Island route

BC Ferries reported the cable ferry is experiencing issues with the head shieve.

Air quality statement in effect for Comox Valley

Smokey skies could mean a high risk on the air quality health index

Additional funds allocated to over-budget Cumberland fire hall design

Council approved the addition of $125,000 for pre-construction work

Local musicians inducted into Comox Valley Walk of Achievement

Seven local musicians have earned their spot among some of the Comox… Continue reading

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

Comox resident part of famed basketball team

Kay MacRitchie MacBeth played guard for Edmonton Grads

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Most Read