Drugstore owners brace customers for longer wait times

Despite opposition, the provincial government is not budging on its decision to slash the cost of generic drugs

Despite opposition, the provincial government is not budging on its decision to slash the cost of generic drugs, causing drugstore owners to wonder how they will survive when the new prices go into effect.

“I am not optimistic,” said Patrick Rurka, owner of Rimbey Value Drug Mart. “Right now there seems to be no potential for change.”

Rurka is appealing to the customers to be patient when the changes go into effect as the wait time to speak to a pharmacist will be longer,” he said.

He said staff is discouraged about the increased workload they will be facing.

“The volume of paperwork will be double or triple what it was before as the government requires a signature with each interaction in order to prove we are doing our job.”

Rurka also encourages customers to sign a petition that will be sent to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta urging the government to implement policy that will ensure that the access to and quality of the services currently provided by community pharmacies and pharmacists in Alberta is preserved.

He and Carl Ziegler from Pharmasave have met with physicians in town to discuss the situation.

“They are sympathetic to our problems, but, of course, have their own issues as well,” he said.

An implementation advisory committee has been struck to conduct further review on the impact of the generic drug pricing reductions on pharmacies.

The pricing of six generic drugs will be reduced April 1 from 35 per cent of the cost of the brand name drugs to 18 per cent and the remainder will be slashed May 1.