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Ontario pharmacies severely underpaid, new study of reimbursements reveals

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TORONTO Retail pharmacies in Ontario are being paid far less for prescriptions dispensed under Canada’s healthcare system than what it costs them to provide those prescriptions to patients, a new study reveals.

In partnership with the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores announced the results of the province-wide study Wednesday at a meeting of the Economic Club of Toronto. Those results, based on an independent survey of 505 community pharmacies across Ontario, show a striking discrepancy between what pharmacies are paid for dispensing medications and what they can recoup for their services.

The independent study found the median cost to provide dispensing and related pharmacy services was $13.77 per prescription. The estimated average payment the provincial government provides to pharmacies for those services, however is far less: approximately $8.70 and declining, according to CACDS president and CEO Nadine Saby, who presented the findings.

“We need to work closely with government to find the innovative and alternative solutions that will ensure the sustainability of patient care and community pharmacy in Canada,” said Saby.

The study was conducted by MENTORx, a consulting firm that specializes in pharmacy-based research. Its aim: to assess the operating costs incurred by Ontario community pharmacies to dispense prescription drugs and deliver related pharmacy services to patients.

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