Loyalty reward points will remain off limits for B.C. shoppers buying prescription drugs.

Supreme Court upholds ban on B.C. pharmacy reward points

Regulators consider prescription incentives a health risk

Shoppers in B.C. who love to collect Air Miles or other loyalty reward points when they fill prescriptions are out of luck.

A ban on pharmacies offering loyalty rewards or other incentives on prescription drugs will remain in force after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal filed by major retailers.

The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia passed a bylaw banning incentives such as redeemable points on the grounds that the practice is unethical, unsafe and unprofessional because patients can be tempted to buy drugs they don’t need.

“Pharmacists are medication experts, and sometimes the right thing for them to do is not dispense a drug,” said college registrar Bob Nakagawa. “A patient’s motivation to collect redeemable points may inappropriately encourage drug use and can put their health at risk.”

One of the objections raised by the college 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.

Incentives have long been forbidden on methadone prescriptions as well as any Pharmacare-covered prescriptions.

The ban was challenged by Sobeys, which owns Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores, on the basis it was an unreasonable restraint, with no evidence of any harm to consumers.

A B.C. Supreme Court  judge originally overturned the ban as having been too broad, but the B.C. Court of Appeal sided with the college in January. The ban has been in force since then.

Just Posted

Island Health announces addition of 38 beds for seniors care in the Comox Valley

17 beds at Comox Valley hospital; 21 beds at St. Joe’s

VIDEO: North Island Hospital heliport flight testing

Island Health, in conjunction with Helijet, tested the heliports Tuesday as part… Continue reading

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Change of command at HMCS Quadra

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt.-Col.) Allan Dengis assumed command of HMCS Quadra in a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Comox resident refuses to turn his back on his Nicaraguan community

Sean MacKinnon and his partner are hoping to raise funds through a beer and yoga fundraiser Friday

Trade tokens a new form of currency on Hornby Island

Jim Bulmer hopes his tokens will turn a profit for the community

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

Most Read