Prescription rewards points ban struck down by B.C. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of B.C. has ruled in favour of a legal challenge by grocery chain Sobeys, striking down a ban on British Columbians earning loyalty points on pharmacy prescriptions.

Legal challenge by Sobeys means consumers may collect loyalty points on prescriptions

The Supreme Court of B.C. has struck down a ban on loyalty programs tied to prescriptions.

The Supreme Court of B.C. has ruled in favour of a legal challenge by grocery chain Sobeys, striking down a ban on British Columbians earning loyalty points on non-government funded pharmacy prescriptions.

The ban was instituted by the B.C. College of Pharmacists last year, and was quickly challenged in court by Sobeys — owners of Canada Safeway and Thrifty Foods — who argued that the move by the College was anti-competitive and not in the interest of British Columbians.

The College argued that tying loyalty rewards to drugs had the potential for public harm, that customers would hoard prescriptions for bonus points days, and pay more attention to their air miles than the efficacy of their drugs. 

But Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson found the only proven harm of the ban was on consumers, prevented from obtaining pharmacy services and prescriptions at the lowest price.

Sobeys say that they hope to have the rewards system up and running in the next few days.

With files from Jason Proctor

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