Bill 92 – Greater transparency expected with pharmacist receipts

On November 15, 2016, the Québec government adopted in principle Bill 92, An Act to extend the powers of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec and to amend various legislative provisions.

This bill is intended to give the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) tools to help them manage certain commercial practices by pharmacists. It is also designed to create greater transparency while helping reduce the pressure on the cost of the public health insurance plan.

Of particular interest for private plans is the amendment requiring pharmacists to provide a detailed receipt that breaks out the cost of the pharmaceutical services. The receipt must indicate the professional fees of the pharmacists for each service rendered (listed separately), the cost assumed by the public plan for each medication or supply and the profit margin of the wholesaler. For prescription drugs this includes the ingredient cost, the dispensing fee (the pharmacist’s professional fee) and the markup (upcharge) charged by the pharmacy. 

Today pharmacists are not required to break out these costs. The ingredient cost, dispensing fee and markup are bundled together as one charge, which means the patient or third party paying for the cost of the prescription has no idea what the actual costs are. Breaking out the costs creates transparency and allows consumers to better understand what they are being charged and potentially shop around if they feel the costs are excessive.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) Québec has formed a working group to analyze the changes in legislation. Manulife, as one of the major insurers in Québec, has been actively involved in discussions regarding the amendment and will continue to be involved. We have key representation on the working group assessing the affect to private plans. 

Manulife will be monitoring and sharing information on the outcomes of the analysis once it becomes available, along with any opportunities to apply additional cost containment controls in the province of Québec.