The College of Pharmacists' ban on loyalty reward offers on pharmaceutical purchases was defeated in court last year but the regulatory body is appealing.

Pharmacy loyalty points, tobacco sales still in crosshairs of regulators

College of Pharmacists of B.C. aims to control retailers' conduct on health grounds

The regulatory body for B.C. pharmacists hasn’t given up on its agenda to ban pharmacies from handing out loyalty reward points on drug purchases, or to eventually ban cigarette sales.

A ban imposed by the College of Pharmacists of B.C. was struck down in B.C. Supreme Court last summer, but an appeal filed by the college will be heard in December.

The college argued loyalty points are a powerful lure for consumers that can alter their medication buying habits and potentially harm their health. It was fought in court by major supermarket chains.

The judge in the trial ruled the ban on all loyalty incentives was “unreasonable” and concerns raised were “illogical.”

College spokesman Mykle Ludvigsen wouldn’t comment on the grounds for appeal.

One of the objections raised was that insured patients who don’t pay out of pocket might continue to refill a prescription after they no longer need it just to collect more points and the unneeded drugs may be abused or diverted to the illegal drug trade.

Tobacco sales by pharmacies are also in the crosshairs of the college.

Ludvigsen said there is no specific timeline to impose such a ban but the college’s 2014 strategic plan calls for the board to pursue one.

“We’re the only province that currently allows cigarettes to be sold in premises that contain a pharmacy,” he said.

“It completely goes against the pharmacy as a health centre. To sell things we know kill you at the front of the store and to sell things that help you get better at the back of the store is a bit of a conflict.”

Retail chains have warned they would challenge the college’s jurisdiction if it moves to impose a tobacco ban and would also sue the college and its directors for lost sales that would result if their stores can’t sell cigarettes.

“The law does not take a positive view of activities which represent unwarranted restraint of trade,” says a letter to the college sent last fall by executives from London Drugs, Overwaitea Food Group, Safeway, Rexall, Sobey’s and Thrifty Foods.

Just Posted

Howard the Gnome finds a home at Galey Farms

Eight-metre gnome expected to greet visitors to Saanich farm this fall

In a fight against cancer, Victoria man’s only stem cell match was his own donation

More mixed race and Asian stem cell donors needed, says Victoria family

Bridges for Women grad takes on new business idea

Victoria woman puts her lessons into action with Sweeping Beauty Concierge

VicPD warn public on fake firearms after responding to four gun calls in just five hours

Officers treat each firearm as a real weapon until they can determine it isn’t, say police

Purple Day 2019: Victoria marks epilepsy awareness day

1 in 100 Canadians live with epilepsy, a neurological disorder with many symptoms

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

POLL: Do you still have a landline telephone?

With smart phones becoming an indispensable part of modern-day life, more and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MPs denounce leaked reports of Trudeau-JWR clash over Supreme Court pick

Opposition MPs called the leaks an act of desperation meant to smear Wilson-Raybould

Study says B.C.’s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

The study involves 50 people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: Homicide team called in after three killed in Surrey car crash

Investigators ask public to come forward with information, dashcam video

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

UPDATED: Sailings resume after BC Ferries boat hits Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay trips

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read