British Columbians can no longer collect reward points on prescriptions

File photo. Canadian Press file photo

The College of Pharmacists of B.C. has won a court battle that will prevent British Columbians from collecting loyalty points on prescription purchases.

In 2013, the college decided to ban pharmacies from offering incentives on its services. Pharmacy chains, including Shoppers Drug Mart and Sobeys, fought the decision and in 2014 the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled in their favour.

But a decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal Wednesday prohibited incentives for prescriptions, saying “inducements from pharmacists [are] a matter of public interest and professional standards.”

The college is happy with the decision, saying people shouldn’t be influenced by loyalty points when refilling their prescriptions.

“Prescriptions are somewhat different than most other commodities,” College of Pharmacists of B.C. registrar Bob Nakagawa said. “They are very potent and sometimes can be toxic elements. They need to be used judiciously.

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“There should only be one determinant of whether a patient gets a prescription and that should be their health care needs. What we’ve heard from pharmacists was that the motivator in cases with incentives being provided was those incentives.”

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