Currently in BC, consumers can collect loyalty points like AIR MILES when they fill prescriptions at local pharmacies.
However, the College of Pharmacists of BC has proposed a bylaw change that would prohibit pharmacies like Safeway from awarding customers any loyalty points in connection with filling your prescription.
Safeway, which has pharmacies in its stores, says it is a matter of choice and that consumers have not been consulted on this significant change. More importantly, they say there is no evidence to suggest that pharmacies that partner in loyalty programs contribute to any harm or undermine the professionalism of pharmacists.
Loyalty programs and incentives have been proven to improve patient adherence to medication and improve health outcomes for patients. Results from research completed in December 2012 on behalf of Canada Safeway and the AIR MILES Reward Program, in which 1000 British Columbians were interviewed, revealed that two-thirds of these patients disagree with the College’s attempt to prohibit loyalty rewards or points on prescriptions. In addition, it revealed that patients make their decisions on selecting a pharmacy primarily based on the professionalism and expertise of the pharmacist.
Very few BC consumers know about this proposed bylaw and they have until December 28th to provide feedback to the College. Pharmacies like Safeway are urging the public to voice their opinions to the College and the Minister of Health. Consumers can do so by visiting the College’s website (www.bcpharmacists.org/news_events/news/news206.php).
Comments from BC residents will be reviewed by the College of Pharmacists and the Government before a decision is made.
Image by Mikey G Ottawa