College of pharmacists want to ban rewards for drug purchases
Alberta College of Pharmacists looking into prohibiting pharmacies from rewarding customers with Aeroplan and Air Miles
Posted: Nov 30, 2012 8:31 AM ET
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2012 7:43 PM ET
People who cash in on Aeroplan and Airmiles when buying prescription drugs might not be able to do so in the near future.
The Alberta College of Pharmacists is looking into prohibiting pharmacies from rewarding customers with points.
Greg Eberhart, registrar for the college, says they are targeting prescription drugs and items kept behind the pharmacy counter.
“It would not apply to health aids and devices that individuals might purchase to manage their diabetes for example,” Eberhard said. “It would not prohibit the collection of points or incentives where an individual uses their credit card or their debit card.”
Eberhart says this is not a move to bolster business for smaller pharmacies.
“This is not a discussion about Canada Safeway, this is not a discussion about Shopper's Drug Mart or any other particular pharmacy,” Eberhart said. “This is about pharmacists practice and is based on feedback that pharmacists from across the province have provided the College.”
He says since pharmacists can now prescribe drugs, the college wants to make sure there are no conflicts perceived, or otherwise in the patient's care.
Mitchell Merowitz, vice-president of corporate affairs with Air Miles reward program, says the issue is really about consumer choice and competition.
"We believe that consumers should have the opportunity to collect points and loyalty points and other incentives with not just front of store purchases but prescription drugs as well. This has been in practice for many years and there should be no reason to prohibit it now," Merowitz said.
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