Government has signed a new tariff agreement with the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia.
Government compensates pharmacists for dispensing drugs and providing other professional services, such as doing medication reviews, according to terms included in tariff agreements.
“Our Pharmacare programs provide a safety net for seniors and families against high drug costs, by ensuring they have access to prescription drugs to manage disease and avoid illness,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We are very happy to have reached a new tariff agreement that meets the needs of the province and the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, and that is sustainable for Nova Scotians.”
The tariff agreement, which takes effect Oct. 1, is for a five-year term, a first for the province. Other agreements have been one- to three-year terms.
“Having a five-year term will bring more stability, as we won’t be in a constant cycle of negotiations. It will also allow for more certainty from a budgeting perspective,” said Mr. Glavine.
As part of the agreement, there will be funding for demonstration projects for services pharmacists provide within their scope of practice. One demonstration project will see pharmacists doing minor ailment assessments for cold sores and seasonal allergies, giving patients easier access to health-care services. The agreement also increases the maximum Pharmacare dispensing fee from $11.05 to $11.50, with annual increases that bring the maximum fee to $12.10 in the final year of the agreement.
“We are pleased to have our tariff negotiations complete and a contract in place,” said Andrew Buffett, chair, board of directors, Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. “This contract ensures Pharmacare recipients will continue to have access to the same high level of care they have come to expect from their community pharmacies and pharmacists.”
Pharmacare programs include Seniors’ and Family Pharmacare, Drug Assistance for Cancer Patients, the Department of Community Services Pharmacare, and Pharmacare benefits to residents of long-term care facilities who are younger than 65. The Pharmacare programs account for about $237 million in prescriptions each year.
Pharmacists in Nova Scotia are compensated for administering flu vaccines outside of the tariff agreement.