Agents will be able to sell medicines without a physician’s prescription in 2018 under an agreement reached with Health Canada.
The agreement allows insurers to offer their agents a discounted price for their services, without requiring a prescription.
It means the insurance companies will no long be able buy medications on the market from a licensed pharmacy.
They will only be able purchase them from agents that have a prescription for the same product.
The deal has been in the works for years, and was made public earlier this year.
Health Canada says the changes will ensure that Canadians have access to safe and effective medicines while also respecting the interests of insurers, pharmacies and consumers.
The changes are also a boon for pharmacists and pharmacists-as-insurers, the group of people who make up the vast majority of pharmacists in Canada.
Under the agreement, pharmacists will not be allowed for the first time to sell the same medication for the price paid by the insurance company.
They can still do this, but the price will have to be lower than the cost of the drug in question.
Insurers, however, will still be able offer their pharmacists a discount.
The discount will be based on the generic brand price, not the manufacturer price.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose said in a statement Monday that the government will continue to fight for lower prices for Canadian consumers.
She added that the agreement is an important step forward.
The Health Canada agreement with Insurers & Insurers Agents, Inc. (Agents) was announced on Oct. 18, 2018.
The price reductions will apply to:Prescription drug coverage, including generic drugs and non-generic drugs, in the individual market, including a reduced list of products in the national marketplace and a reduced national list of non-national products.
Insurance product coverage for prescriptions and co-payments, including prescription drug coverage for prescription drugs and co‑payments.
In the national coverage, for drugs purchased by individuals, prescription drug, non-prescription drug and co‐payment coverage.
In addition, the agreement will provide a simplified process for agents to apply for insurance coverage through Health Canada and provide greater protection for patients and their providers.
The agreements with insurers, pharmacist and pharmacist-as‑insurers are part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to support the access to high-quality medicines in Canada, and provide certainty for the health of Canadians.
This is a developing story.
Details will be released as they become available.
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