PANL and province reach deal

Colin MacLean
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Both sides stress aspects of agreement

Health Minister Susan Sullivan is pictured in this Telegram file photo.

Just ahead of new legislation coming into effect on lower generic drug costs, the province and the Pharmacists' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) have reached a tentative agreement on a pharmacy services contract.

Starting today new regulations mandate that all generic drugs be sold at 45 per cent of the cost of their corresponding brand drug.

A complete list of what is involved in the four-year deal was not available when both sides issued statements Sunday. But both the province and PANL touted aspects of the agreement.

Sandra Carey, president of PANL, said in a release this deal gives pharmacies time to adapt to the changes being made to the Pharmacy Service Act.

"Generic reform has resulted in a number stressors on pharmacists as they try to provide the best care to their patients," said Carey.

"While not giving PANL everything its members were hoping for, PANL believes it is the best provincial contract to date on a national scale. It provides a foundation on which pharmacies in this province can remodel and transition their business plans while they adapt to generic reform," Carey added.

According to its release, the province has agreed to reinvest more than $37 million into pharmacies and $29 million into the 65 Plus Plan.

Other highlighted areas by the province include a new deal on payments for pharmacist's professional services and more investment into pharmacies operating in underserviced areas of the province.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan said in a statement the deal is a good one for both parties and will mean a stronger health care system in the end.

"Our government recognized that there was an opportunity to help people, especially seniors who are burdened by growing drug costs," Sullivan said.

"The new policy strikes a unique balance that demonstrates strong fiscal responsibility while making generic drugs more affordable for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We look forward to continuing some of the dialogue that occurred during negotiations through ongoing working groups with PANL," she said.

Organizations: PANL, Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Pharmacy Service

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