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Sobeys to challenge provincial ban on pharmacy rewards

Sobeys to challenge provincial ban on pharmacy rewards

Sobeys said it would launch a legal challenge to a resolution by pharmacists in Alberta that would prevent patients from collecting reward points for pharmacy purchases.

The Alberta College of Pharmacists, a group that develops and enforces pharmacy practices in the province, voted last week to prohibit its members from “offering, providing or being party to offering or providing an inducement to a patient where the inducement is offered or provided on the condition that the patient obtains a drug product or a professional service from the regulated member or the licensed pharmacy.” The resolution is to take effect May 1.


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"We strongly disagree with the College's decision," Sandra Aylward, VP, professional and regulatory affairs for Sobeys, said in a statement. "Studies show that loyalty programs build stronger bonds between patients and their pharmacies, and encourage better patient adherence to prescription medication, which is in the best interests of patient health care."

Millions of Albertans earn loyalty rewards and choose to use them to enrich their lives, buy products and travel, Sobeys said. According to a survey conducted in 2012 by Research Now, 73% of Albertans believe a ban such as this to be unfair. Sobeys said it was also encouraging Albertans who object to the ban to contact legislators to express their concerns.

In a release explaining the decision, the ACP said: “We must make sure pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can work in an environment where the critical decisions they must make can be made objectively — without any real or perceived impediment. The adoption of these amendments is just one more step we’re taking to support such a professional environment.”

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