Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pharmacy fees essential

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Re: Forcing pharmacies to disclose fees, Feb. 28.

Would you walk into a Canadian Tire store and expect to be able to purchase a shovel at cost -- for the price that the store paid for it?

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As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I've seen first-hand how the general public lacks understanding of prescription pricing -- in particular, dispensing fees.

A medication is purchased from a drug wholesaler (the cost), the prescription is filled (or a fax is sent to your doctor requesting a refill), and the doctor is often phoned regarding unintended dosage changes, allergies, inappropriate dosing and errors in the order.

The customer is counselled about the medication, questions are asked and the pharmacist quite often does extra research to get to the bottom of more complicated inquiries.

These actions performed by the pharmacist are all part of filling a prescription. The dispensing fee, added on to the cost of the medication, is the only money that is made and used to pay for all the services of the pharmacy staff and the general costs of running a business.

 

ZOE LESLIE

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2014 A14

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