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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Comox Valley Horseshoe Society all about friendly competition

Feeling lucky? Do you have horseshoes? The Comox Valley Horseshoe Society is… Continue reading

Fanny Bay residents fed up with problem house

A delegation from Fanny Bay has appealed to regional district directors to… Continue reading

Merville’s annual Garlic Fest a ‘stinking good time’

Once again, it is time to hold your nose and prance on… Continue reading

Cumberland resident finds prized possession from childhood

Corrina Mahoney was scanning the 24 Hour Bidding site and happened upon… Continue reading

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read