New Brunswick

Seniors' prescription co-payments questioned

The New Brunswick Pharmacists' Association says it will begin enforcing co-payment on seniors' prescriptions under the provincial drug plan, despite debate about whether collection is mandatory.

New Brunswick Pharmacists' Association, province differ on interpretation

Previously, many pharmacies in the province waived or discounted co-payments for seniors. (Graeme Roy/Canadian Press)

The New Brunswick Pharmacists' Association says it will begin enforcing co-payment on seniors' prescriptions under the provincial drug plan, despite debate about whether collection is mandatory.

Previously, many pharmacies in the province waived or discounted co-payments for seniors.

The association recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the province saying it will enforce collection.

But the Department of Health said in a statement that it is not requiring pharmacies to collect co-payments and there is nothing in the legislation saying pharmacies can't continue to waive or reimburse seniors.

The pharmacists' association didn't respond to CBC’s requests for an interview.

Linda Nickerson and Gerry Burke both work at the Saint John Senior Resource Centre and are worried about what the increasing cost of prescriptions will mean for seniors.

"Do you try to maybe take your medication every other day to make it last longer? Are you going to be cutting down on food? Are you going to be cutting down on heat?” said Nickerson.

Burke is worried the change will affect more than just seniors’ wallets.

"It's going to be disaster. I think you're going to see a lot of seniors they'll probably stop some of the drugs that they are supposed to take, and that could be serious,” Burke said.

The New Brunswick Senior Citizens Federation says it will be working with other seniors' groups to lobby the new government about the issue.

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