Canadian Pharmacists’ Triple-Fee Scam will ADD to Covid-19 Infections and Deaths

We are at war! Our federal, provincial, municipal leaders and health officials have warned us repeatedly of the battles we must all wage against an evil foe, that has already cut down more than 15,000 Canadians and taken more than 250 precious lives.

And a key weapon in fighting the fight for all Canadians … but especially the elderly and those with compromised health conditions … is STAY AT HOME.

But in every war, there are those who see it as an opportunity to PROFIT from their fellow citizens’ suffering.

And many of Canada’s pharmacists, in my opinion, are now part of that disgraceful group.

Under a new policy, just recently implemented, these pharmacists are now forcing Canadians to refill even long-standing commonly and abundantly available drug prescriptions every 30 days … instead of the previously common 90-day renewal/refill period approved by their own doctors!

We are NOT talking here about a policy being applied to difficult to source, numerically stressed or rare pharmaceuticals: this new policy covers ALL prescribed drugs for ALL patients.

It is a scam!

Because those pharmacists who take part … and charge as much as $10 or $12 or even more for EVERY prescription they fill will now collect that fee EVERY 30 DAYS for EACH prescription … instead of once every three months for each.

Just think of the MILLIONS OF EXTRA DOLLARS Canadians will have to shell out to those extortionist pharmacists every month!

For some … especially seniors, many of whom take seven, eight, nine or more prescribed drugs each day, the added fees will cost each of them HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS more each quarter.

Does anybody doubt that many will start splitting, cutting out some or all of their prescriptions during that time or just forget to go get them in time???

And we’re not talking just about seniors or those living regularly on limited fixed incomes … but those too who until recently still had jobs and now have reduced hours or have lost their jobs or had their businesses shuttered during the war against Covid-19.

This is travesty.

I believe it is just a shakedown of a captive audience by Canada’s pharmacists, who operate basically as a monopoly. Because we can’t just seek an alternative marketplace … like Amazon … or order our prescription medications directly from overseas!

Canada’s pharmacists are operating during this crisis more like organized crime, rather than involved community leaders helping us get through a critical period.

Who is their business advisor/strategist? Don Corleone?

Making it all worse than just the financial implications, of course, is the impact this new ripoff policy will have on Canada’s war against the coronavirus.

If people who are already sick enough to regularly require several drugs every day now have to shop for their prescriptions EVERY MONTH instead of every three months, that will absolutely expose them to greater risk and danger. Three times as much!

For seniors, the danger is particularly acute … and chances of contracting the virus and even dying from the disease will skyrocket exponentially, because many will now be going out to the drugstore much more often.

And I don’t buy any pharmacists’ propaganda that people can just get their drugs delivered.

What about pharmacies that don’t deliver? Is this a good time to ask sick people or seniors to shop around for a new drug store? And transfer all their files? Or go to their doctors just to get new prescriptions written up for a new pharmacy?

What about pharmacies that charge for deliveries? Adding monthly delivery fees (and tips) to monthly RX-filling fees just adds to the ripoff!

However, the policy change has implications even worse than the added financial costs!

I have no doubt it will ADD to the number of Covid-19 infections and death toll.

The greatest concern for governments and health officials should be those people who require regular prescribed drugs … again especially seniors … who will now decide to go to the pharmacy every three weeks or so to pick up next month’s supply.

Many do not drive, can’t walk very far and are too proud to ask others to pick up their pills for them every few weeks.

What are they supposed to do? Take public transit or taxis to the drug store every few weeks? And expose themselves substantially on the way there and back and in the store … multiplying by several times their risk?

If people can’t go to the beach, the park or out for lunch … how can it be good for their health to have to go to the drug store three times as often???

So much for the Stay at Home admonitions of our governmental and health officials!!!

Governments MUST intervene and STOP this ripoff by Canada’s pharmacists adding extra dangers to so many Canadians’ lives.

And I suspect there is also a good case to be made (any lawyers reading?) for a Class Action Suit by Canadians against both the pharmacies practicing this scam and against those pharmaceutical officials and associations that came up with or endorsed this scam.

Would love to see them in Court defending for why they HAD to invoke this policy change for all prescriptions at this time.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get free First Alerts of all new postings on this BC-based Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.)

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39 Responses to Canadian Pharmacists’ Triple-Fee Scam will ADD to Covid-19 Infections and Deaths

  1. DonGar says:

    What BS and $ grab. I’ve sent message to our premier, our minister of health and the PM to stop this now. Hope everyone reading this blog does the same.

    Thanks for outlining in detail this scam.

    (Response: This is a perfect issue for the media to press Trudeau and ALL the provincial premiers on. Millions of Canadians are being affected … ripped off by a syndicate-style scam that literally has Canadians by the throat! h.O)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    Dead right on this!

    Previously I ordered my blood pressure pills in 3 month batches, now it will be every month, with a service fee paid every month!

    SCAM, SHAKEDOWN, PROFITEERING!

    This brought police intervention during the war and it should now, again! Shame them!

    Just a general observation, small business is doing what it can to survive and be good citizens, but on the flip side, major corporations are doing their best to screw us over, with a few exceptions.

    Government must step in and now!

  3. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Sounds like it’s time for a law, to counteract this policy of pharmacists.

    Extended medical plan providers, such as Blue Cross, should also be pushing back, as this hurts their bottom line.

    Anyone with extended medical coverage through work would not be affected financially by this, as their plan would cover the extra charges — but the hassle (and COVID-19 danger) of turning up every month affects all pharmaceutical users. And people needing meds are often the ones that COVID-19 will affect most seriously.

    (Response: Those who have extended insurance coverage will pay for it … in increased premiums down the road. And we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars in extra national costs. Both the federal and provincial governments MUST act to stop this ripoff of literally a captive group of victims. h.o.)

  4. Jay says:

    Yeah can’t really defend this. I understand the reasoning behind the change in supply but the fees being tripled is a cash grab.
    It looks like the provinces are already looking to fix this as it only came into effect recently.
    Having read some info it seems that the pharmacists still have the leeway to refill as usual, they just have to document why. So hopefully the ones with a conscience and spine will use some common sense.

    (Response: I don’t think anyone would object to limiting refills for drugs in short supply: but that is not what is happening at many pharmacies. It’s a blanket decision … and there is no reason/excuse for that. Especially when the major plea from health officials and government is for everyone … but especially seniors, who are most vulnerable and consume the largest variety and numbers of prescriptions … to STAY HOME. Not to mention that those people are most often the ones with limited funds and also most unlikely to be highly mobile to shop around the competition …especially these days! h.o)

  5. max avelli says:

    If that is how your pharmacist is doing things, you need to look for a new pharmacist.

    My doctor gives me a prescription for 100 days of pills. 2 x 2 per day. 400.

    I fill my prescription for all 400 and get charged for that, with filling fee, but only get 100. I go back two weeks later and get another 100. And then again. I do not pay an extra filling fee each time I go in to get another batch of pills from my initial prescription. I have prepaid for the other 300, with a single filing fee. This is being done to ensure there is enough for everyone in these troubling times.

    Now having to stand in a 20-person lineup for half an hour or so to get into London Drugs, that is something to complain about! 🙂

    (Response: My pharmacy told me Friday patients would have to pay the fee EACH time for EACH refill. Maybe the BC College of Pharmacists and the Canadian Pharmacists Association should come out with a directive …ORDERING all pharmacists NOT to charge more than one fee every three months’ supply …. even if they are filled only 30 days at a time??? But most patients should not hold their breath too long for that to happen …or they’ll end up with another illness …requiring yet another medication! h.o)

  6. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you very much for this post. When I was released from hospital with prescriptions they were only for a month. Then phoned GP to update on broken tibia and do the 3month renewal. He told me he’d phone it in for 3 months but pharmacies were only filling them in one month instalments. Now I know why. What a major rip it’s just not Seniors but all those who get by pay check to pay check. Where is the money going to come from for low income earners

    What is the matter with these jerks. Do wonder where their college sits on this because if this is happening every where it’s a nice group effort and the last time I checked there’s are all sorts of laws against that

    I expect a lot of major drug store chains aren’t happy that over the last couple of decades doctors started writing prescription for 3 months instead of monthly for some drugs you get to take for the rest of your life. Perhaps they saw a money grab.

    Tomorrow I will use the walker and wheelchair to get to the computer and send off my letter to the various politicians. If some one has more energy than I please write letters to your local newspaper for letters to the editor so the word gets out because from the little I did hear it was being passed off as a government decision to ensure there was no run on drugs. It did sound stupid to me at the time because without a script you can’t get drugs. Will be an entertaining chat with my pharmacist tomorrow

    Gee and I wondered what the next topic would be. With so many at home now is a rather good time to deal with consumer issues

    (Response: This is more than a consumer issue: much more. Because consumers have choices … if they don’t like a product or a price, they can shop around…. even order online. It is not really that way with prescriptions… for the same product … and if most of them are participating in the “scheme” … or should I say “scam”. This NEEDS government intervention ..NOW! Before many patients are ripped off for months, cut out their medications because there’s a big difference between a $10 or $12 filling fee ..and $30 or $36 for the exact same thing … a 90-day supply of necessary medication. And don’t forget, many patients ..especially the elderly and/or chronically ill … take several! And tripling anyone’s visits to pharmacies during the Covid-19 crisis is inviting disaster! h.o)

  7. Leila Paul says:

    Since China has been awarded pharmaceutical production of many drugs, there is likely a shortage of global supply. That suggests the possibility of bidding wars by nations.

    This outrage may be overblown. It’s to be expected and will be repeated with regard to numerous commodities, whether essential or not.

    Do not incite hostility towards pharmacists. They face daily threat from those who approach them within the < 2 meter distance. They are at the front lines, so to speak.

    If the large pharmaceutical companies have to compete for drugs in a global market, inevitably the drugs will go to the higher bidder.

    Find out who's producing the drugs; if the shortage is legitimate and then be specific as to the identify of the price gougers.

    Has Trudeau threatened punitive against price gougers? Premier Ford has and so has the clown south of the border.

    Put pressure not on the poor, hard working pharmacists but on their overlords and those from whom the overlords must acquire the drugs.

    DM Johnston. – You have high blood pressure? Who'd have thought? Be kind to yourself and maybe try not to get too worked up about people who disagree with you. Fortunately, I'm in the lower ranges of BP normals and yet I'm accused of being too excitable. It seems caring too much is denounced only if you have criteria regarding who is exploiting the new crisis and who are truly worthy of care and concern.

    However, I do need thyroid replacement hormone after surgery which I now realize was not necessary back in 1987. Since I take the naturally-sourced desiccated hormone it's likey to be on back order when I need it. However, other naturopathic therepies can be found albeit likely at a higher cost.

    Meanwhile, take care, ol' buddy, DMJ. What would this blog be without your insightful comments?

  8. Leila Paul says:

    This is alarming.

    March 25 (UPI) — COVID-19 might interact with heart conditions and blood pressure medications, posing a challenge for physicians managing patients at higher risk for severe illness with the virus, experts said Wednesday.

    A study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology confirms reports the bug may cause cardiac complications like irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, myocardial infarction and cardiac arrest.

    https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2020/03/25/Blood-pressure-meds-might-increase-COVID-19-infection-risk-studies-say/4341585147905/

    This may be a good time to research alternative natural therapies, if they’re available and effective.

    (Response: People should take their doctors’ advice … and with the severity of the current crisis, most are not seeing patients now in person … but only by phone. So I think it would be difficult time to research alternative natural therapies. Better the governments deal now with the scam being run by Canada’s pharmacists…and ;et those who want alternatives pursue them as/when they can. h.o)

  9. nvg says:

    Looking on the dark side Harvey, by using the example of those two idiots who bought three truckloads of toilet paper from Costco so that could make a ton of money selling it online…… hoarding…

    My pharmacist knows exactly how many pills I have left, its the law.

    I don’t WANT to have my ‘entitlement’ to my normal stockpile of 90 days worth right now because of these extreme conditions, ….. because if I end up with Covid-19 and die within the next two weeks, hypothetically of course, the remaining 60 pills, will be sitting in my medicine cabinet. They would be off limits to a third party’s use, that REALLY does need it, because of suspected contamination from it being handled by a dead person. right?

    Leave the medication on the drugstore shelves for those that will really need them in three weeks time.

    https://www.bcpharmacy.ca/resource-centre/health-topics/covid-19

    We are aware there is a shortage of some over-the-counter medications and that pharmacies may have encountered difficulties in sourcing some prescription medications.

    We would like to collect your photos of your medication shelves to share with government and the public through information campaigns.

    This sort of poll, while informal, would offer an opportunity to give the public and government a pair of eyes in every pharmacy that shares a photo to promote a better understanding of why medication supply management is crucial to keeping British Columbians healthy and safe during this pandemic.

    (Response: This is NOT an issue of supply. No one wants to see hoarding ..and it’s pretty hard to do since the pharmacists knows exactly when your pills are due for renewal. And this is not being applied by pharmacies participating in the ripoff to only those drugs in short supply: but to EVERY drug. This is very simply about the TRIPLING FEES they add on to fill each prescription … just at a time when Canadians are being held captive at home and find it very difficult and ill-advised to go out, shop around etc. . h.o)

  10. Crankypants says:

    I had to renew and refill my prescription last week. My doctor’s office is now renewing prescriptions by phone then faxing the renewal to the pharmacy I deal with. London Drugs gave me the normal 3 month’s supply. Maybe if one goes through their doctor’s office rather than through their pharmacy they can avoid the extra expense.

  11. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    i see this several ways,
    either the supply management is in deep trouble, and the government has been lying to us . or the pharmacies are profiteering . so which is it?

    could it be a bit of both? many of our pharmaceuticals are made in other countries and imported in.

    i have noticed many products are going up in price , i hope the federal government does a temporary CPP increase for the duration of the pandemic.

    (Response: Important to know the pharmacists’ fee is ABOVE the cost of the drugs…so if a drug goes up, they have always been able to boost the price accordingly. The current ripoff is occurring solely to let them collect three fees instead of one is every three month period for every patient for every prescription people need: this is SCAM that will add hundreds of millions of dollars to patients’ health care costs! h.o)

  12. 13 says:

    My wife picked up my prescriptions. I saw the quantities and the refill notation so I called the pharmacy. I asked why and explained making 3 trips to pharmacy instead of one was flying in the face of gov advice. Save On Foods pharmacy at Vedder and Promontory. I nclude the location and name simply because of the pharmacists reply.
    “we are following the government orders re rationing drugs”
    This creates a few senarios
    She is flat out lying to me and this makes HOs claims valid
    I am not charged dispensing fees for next 2 refills This makes HOs observations re seniors being put in jeapordy
    IF THE GOV ORDERED pharmacies to do this it is the GOVERNMENTS fault.
    Did she lie or not. Someone should ask Henery /Dix

    (Response: This is NOT a government order: I understand it emanates from the Pharmacists Associations themselves. And yes, the media should be pressing government on this ..but not a mention at today’s BC briefing! Amazing! It will affect MILLIONS of British Columbians and Canadians …much more personally and directly than almost all of the topics the media raised in the briefing. Amazing that no one has earnestly taken this up as a cause. Reminds me of how often, when I was working, I would go to a press conference, listen to 40 minutes of questioning by others, then ask MY question …and sure enough (not kidding or bragging) … that was the issue/clip that almost every other media used on their news that night!! Used to bother me …because I got scooped by my own question and the answer… used by hourly radio newscasts and early TV news on other stations before I got to do it on our show!! 🙂 Too bad so few of the medias today realize they are there to represent and raise questions their VIEWERS and LISTENERS care about, not other media or governmental officials prefer to talk about … and the HUGE RIPOFF of millions of patients by pharmacists fits perfectly into that kind of issue that could/should be pursued every day by the media .. until the problem is solved. h.o)

  13. DBW says:

    Harvey, in this article a senior and her husband will be paying an extra $220 every three months for as long as this continues. Which of course is outrageous especially for anyone with low income. However, in the same article it says this

    Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news conference on Friday (April 3) that the concerns around dispensing fees will be addressed, but didn’t provide detail on what measures specifically were being taken.

    “We are addressing that,” Henry said. “We’re addressing that for seniors, for people on fair Pharmacare, so that it will be taken care of for most people.”

    Nobody has been charged YET for a second or third dispensing fee. Hopefully, Dr. Henry’s assurance will mean it won’t happen.

    https://www.mapleridgenews.com/news/an-extra-220-every-90-days-b-c-patients-pay-more-dispensing-fees-due-to-prescription-limits/

    (Response: I am not confident, to put it mildly, that the pharmacists, who came up with this dastardly scheme in the first place, will be so magnanimous as to tell millions of Canadians your next two refills are FREE! They will only do it, I believe, if the governments and consumer backlash (phone them and let them and their head offices know if it bothers/impacts you) forces them to cancel their shameful shakedown scheme. h.o)

  14. nonconfidencevote says:

    Geez, 117 comments on the last topic.
    And you thought you’d get to relax in retirement…. 🙂

    One hopes the idiots in govt will change this cash grab by pharmacists with some legislation and or fines……but I wont hold my breath.

    (Response: They will … IF the public, blog readers and media push the to do it. Write Trudeau, write Horgan, write Dix … let them know if it is/will impact you. And remember it’s an extra $20 to $30 (over the two extra months) for EACH prescription you or anyone in your family or social circle requires. A total unjustified (from everything I’ve seen) ripoff! h.o)

  15. nvg says:

    Harvey, its not the pharmacists that you should be addressing your capitalized concerns with about your prescription refills, its your doctor.

    Your doctor know best about your unique medical situations which you posted: eg. http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/bc-critical-care-a-personal-journey/

    your health care practitioner must order frequent dispensing as part of the prescription

    Pharmacy Fees & Services

    Frequency of Dispensing Policy

    ” To qualify for coverage of dispensing fees for frequent dispensing – your health care practitioner must order frequent dispensing as part of the prescription and you must sign a form that the pharmacy will provide. The pharmacy will notify your physician and keep the signed form on file to document the reason for frequent dispensing. ”

    https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/what-we-cover/pharmacy-fees-services?keyword=Prescriptions&keyword=dispensing&keyword=fee#frequency

    (Response: This is not a personal dilemma: its a societal one. And surely doctors have enough to deal with right now without having millions of patients calling in to make individual personal appeals for them to contact their pharmacies to issue drugs for the 90 day period that they been doing all along for decades …until the Covid-19 opportunity to rip so many people off came along. h.o)

  16. e.a.f. says:

    Every day Andrian Dix and Dr Henry hold a press conference. How about we ask one of the journalists-reporters to ask the question

    I recall CTV and Global do a consumer segment. If they are still doing them perhaps they could look onto it

    As has been pointed out some of us are on several medication which we won’t become off of. I don’t like being ripped off. So if the average fee is $10 and instead of paying that 3/4 times a year we pay it monthly. That is a lot of money going to the pharmacy when it could go to the Foodbank or to your favourite charity or the Christmas gift fund for kids etc

    (Response: Both Global and CBC had stories on the problem Friday. I just hope their news desk has the smarts of the old BCTV and realize the staying power of this story … especially in view of the dreadful impact it will have on millions of Canadians …including most of their viewers. h.O)

  17. Lulymay says:

    Yup! 30 blood pressure pills cost $4.62 and the charge for a clerk to count out a whole 30 pills is $10.60 at Shopper’s Drug Mart (owned by the Weston Family, I believe) and when asked was told they could only sell 30 pills at a time (no further explanation) other than they would keep the prescription in the computer to be filled again in 30 days. This for an 86 year old man with compromised immunity (COPD). Shoppers is known to have both higher drug prices as well a top dollar dispensing fees, but they were handy to where we moved to. We will now switch to Costco for the next round of his meds as there more (and very expensive ones) coming up).

    (Response: Yours is a perfect example of the impact this disgraceful scam is having on Canadians! Sad, inexcusable, outrageous! Will Trudeau, Horgan and Dix address this IMMEDIATELY … before those pharmacists participating in the shakedown scheme pocket millions of dollars in the next few weeks alone!

  18. Leila Paul says:

    One of the groups to whom you can apply pressure, and do it with groups of names, is the provincial pharmacists association.

    https://www.bcpharmacy.ca/about

    While they claim to exist for the benefit of the consumers (or patients in humane terms) they actually exist to benefit the pharmaceutical biggies.

    In Ontario, in one provincial example, they do not exist for the benefit of the pharmacists. Most of pharmacists, for a few years now, have been required to work 12 hour shifts and have no assistants to help with cleaning. They have to dispense meds, keep all surfaces clean, mop the floors, deal with patients and also handle payments – and the do it all themselves.

    The pharmaceutical associations probably work in tandem with big-pharma.

    Then there’s the problem that various pharmacy chains have different suppliers and some suppliers have better methods of sourcing. Some pharmacy chains will have 2 or 3 suppliers while some will have only one.

    The drug store chains could be the ones on whom pressure should be directed too.

    It’s like the chain of command – start at the first source with influence and threaten a boycott of their other products. Drug store chains are probably owned by larger corporations. Find out who owns the drug store chains and threaten boycotts.

    Most pharmacies now are actually like a variety store or superstore competing with Walmart and sell multiple products.

    Get a group – and do it online – to create a petition or an advisory to the owners of the chains telling them their other non-essential products will be boycotted until they cut prices to a more ethically justifiable charge.

  19. e.a.f says:

    Yikes I just did the arithmetic thing

    Picking a fig out of the air of $10 a prescription that would take me from approximately $120 a year to $360 a year. With 3 new prescriptions that could run $720 a year. Given some senior are living on approximately $1400 per month this money grab is not a good a good thing nor is it a good thing for low income wage earners

    On the upside if enough people die from lack of access to medication funeral homes will be making more money. However should we not die just wind up in hospital year after year the remaining tax payers might have a problem.

    Now might be a good time for a national drug plan because what.ever vaccine is discovered to deal with the virus will not be cheap. We also don’t know what medications will be required by those who survive the disease. As one young man said it was like breathing razor blades

  20. e.a.f. says:

    Many if not most drug stores are franchises. A pharmacist only may buy them but they can own more than one. So if you see Shoppers Drug Mart. That is a franchise. Just like Tim Hortons. The owner could have one or several. Medicine Shop—ditto as far as I understand

    London Drugs is one corporation as I would think Wal mart is. It would be interesting to know who engages in the new practice. Part of the problem with boycotting in this case many people can’t change their pharmacy with out difficulty because they don’t drive and not all pharmacies deliver. Many pharmacies don’t deliver but will drop off meds for long time customers for free. It’s one of those things the government needs to issue regulations on

  21. Leila Paul says:

    eaf, yes, it can be complicated transferring scripts from one pharmacy to another. What I propose, which may or may not be feasible, is boycotting the OTHER goods they sell, i.e., the non-essentials.

    That’s often where the franchise owner or the pharmacy chain actually makes a bigger profit margin. That’s a possible tactic to at least get their attention.

    The poor pharmacist is just someone trying to make living in a chaotic and potentially dangerous time for them and they probably do not get paid all that well.

    They cannot oppose their employers rules or they’d find themselves out of a job. It’s their bosses and their boss’s bosses who need to feel the anger of the people being exploited for essentials. Medications are not by any stretch of the imagination an optional or luxury item.

    The provincial health ministry might want to step in too. They’re busy, but a few can meet briefly on this issue and then issue a preferred, if not required, action.

    (Response: Glad to see CTV News at 6 picked up the issue last night. It really is an issue that hits home for millions of Canadians … directly in the pocket book. And I have NO doubt that many, many Canadians, especially those taking SEVERAL prescriptions, will: split or alternate some of their medications to avoid paying fees to refill them every month; will forget to refill them on time; and … worst of all ..will expose themselves to greater danger by going to the pharmacy three times as much and thus exposing themselves to the coronavirus and the possible terrible consequences. This really does deserve GOVERNMENT ACTION!! h.o)

  22. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    when this is over , and it will be , i as a consumer will have a long memory if its gouging by drug stores or any other merchant people will remember with their wallets. i deal with a small drug store in mission so far so good .

    (Response: I too have long memory for a growing list of personal objections to policies and procedures for companies and countries too. However what they all count on is that most people do not respond that way: as soon as there is a big sale price announced on something or they want a product from an offensive company or nations, people will go out and buy it. h.o)

  23. 13 says:

    Harveys response to Harry.
    Absolutely true. Most people talk the talk but when enticed by a good deal to hell with principles. This attitude has become far to ingrained and I dont want to speculate as to why. In the past the union adage was “an injury to one is an injury to all .” Today an injury to one means nothing.
    In this same vein Leilas thought about boycott is a nice thought. Ive wasted to much time on picket lines, fighting to move forward. The strikes usually lasted 5 weeks. The companies and the POV would capitulate. An agreement would be signed . The union du jour Teamsters Caw Unifor would celebrate. Before the next sunrise members would be cutting deals with the employers to sell each other out. Good luck on a boycott. You may as well build a coral and herd cats.
    The only hope is the media make an issue out of dispensing fees. Problem is how many media outlets share ownership with pharma

    (Response: We need others ..like Seniors Orgs and Church groups and all those various Health Charity groups that fill my mail box every week with funding appeals …to take up the issue on behalf of so many of their own patients. Just think of how this will impact people with diabetes, heart, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s,etc. Every one of their groups should be issuing statements/press conferences appealing for government action on behalf of those suffering with those ailments. h.O)

  24. e.a.f. says:

    Laila is quite correct we can boycott for the non prescription good
    Drug stores the large chains make their money on non prescription items or why else did President Choice or rather the chain which created it buy out Shoppers Drugs and move in food

    Not every one will participate in boycotts I do. I not only have a very long memory but a real sense—need for vengeance. One of my less attractive qualities. it’s genetic

    If there can be a few more news items on this and letters to the editor and companies one of the companies wanting to attract positive attention may go back to previous practices

  25. Leila Paul says:

    I’d bet most media employees who’ve survived the loss of public interest and the ad revenue, are working for companies with a private health plan.

    The media talking heads, sitting aloft, are rarely genuinely interested in the fans who follow their scripted utterances. Those who survive for long in the media game are just reading a teleprompter or, if not a visual medium, are just reading whatever comes over the wire services – with sources unknown or un-named. They’re indifferent.

    There may be a very few in small news outlets, but that’s the problem, they’re small and have no serious clout.

    I confess I have a private health plan tied to my private pension. But that does not make me indifferent to the deprivation of others.

    The reason I went into journalism was because I care about people who by circumstances are deprived. As a child, experienced severe poverty. Those who do not know first hand what it is like will only pay lip service.

    Sometimes, the only way to remedy one unforgivable side of the economy that exploits the vulnerable is to find the underbelly and the weaknesses of those who are causing the suffering of others.

    Pharmacies are merely the first step, the portal to the profitable and huge pharmaceutical industries – and they’re intertwined with the huge revenue-generating “health care” industries.

    @13 – yes, you’re right. Too often unions have been betrayed by their own leadership who are lured into that treachery. But this should not be a union issue which sometimes has limited support. Almost everyone is affected by price-gouging when it comes to the cost of drugs or therapies.

    If groups of individuals look around their pharmacy, they’ll see huge amounts of non-medical products. Those are the items that generate the largest profits. And those who produce, market and transport those products are all making money on those products.

    Very often pharmacies are located inside huge or small retail outlets as a means of bringing people in the door. Once inside, and waiting to pick up one’s meds, people look around and buy products they may not even need.

    Most pharmacies are located at the back of the stores? Why do you think that is? So you have to walk through a whole bunch of luxury or optional items – and they’re hoping you’ll buy many of them.

    The boycott should not be like an organized union. It can be pockets of people, or even individuals, who make it know to the chain or franchise owners that they’ll refuse to buy other products unless they lower the cost of dispensing meds.

    We seem to have forgotten that one person, plus one more and on and on eventually make a large group – with or without a formally organized union.

    You’ve got the spending power, even if it seems minor, merchants know that every dollar adds to their profits. Pharmacies often don’t provide a huge profit margin to the franchise or drug store itself. So just threaten – and possibly act on it – to boycott the other products provided as a lure when you go in to pick up your meds.

    While there may be some logic to dispensing small amounts of meds at a time in order to avoid a shortage, there’s no excuse to limit what is given out each time if it’s a drug that may be needed for the person’s lifetime.

    Essentials should be dispensed in large amounts to limit exposure at this time when we’re presumably on a lockdown.

    (Response: Interesting point about the location of the pharmacies. And yes, it’s hard for most of us to walk through and back without picking up ” a few extra things”. So the pharmacies …in addition to tripling their fees … will also add to their bottom line sales. Truly they are getting us coming and going! If the governments and politicians TRULY care about the voters …especially those who have lost their jobs but have medical needs, many, many citizens who suffer from serious chronic ailments that require medications and, of course, the elderly … they will stop this shakedown. h.o)

  26. Leila Paul says:

    Wow, Harvey, you said in one word what I used many to explain my view of things – Shakedown.

    Now let’s wait and see what our politicians, at all levels, will do to protect the weak whose lives depend on their medications.

    Whatever province we’re in and whether they’re federal politicians or bureaucrats, this is where they demonstrate their worthiness to hold authority and power.

    Most of all, let’s see – and remember – which politicians speak out and act in defense of the people on this crucial issue

  27. 13 says:

    @ Leila , I m sorry I did not mean to besmirch union executives. Not that they dont deserve scrutiny. My complaint is about my fellow union members. But to stay on topic I used my experiences with fellow union members to try to make a point re boycotts.
    If your a capable speaker you might be able to rouse some to action at a meeting. By the time the rubber hits the road youll be lucky if you look over your shoulder and your not alone.

  28. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey. My GP phoned my prescriptions into my regular pharmacy. I just checked to see if they were ready for pick up. NO. THEY WERE NOT

    They will not be filled for 6 days. I asked why and was told this was at the direction of their supplier. The suppliers are telling the pharmacies they may only prescribe and dispense for 30 or 45 days at a time. This would then insure all clients would have medications. When I challenged this as a money grab, advising I didn’t see a couple of these meds having anything to do with anything currently going around , the response— they have enjoyed having me as a client but if I would be happier else where they would transfer my file. I use this pharmacy because they have a great compounding tech I actually am there for that reason
    I have been a client for st least 10 yrs
    As with others who have commented here I am used to getting 3 months at a time. The pharmacy owner was not interested in the increase in costs to me , that if my courier can’t deliver I will be in a very awkward position. It all came back to the supplier. The pharmacist went on to discribe what they order and what they receive. They are shorting us at the direction of their suppliers
    And I am under the impression The suppliers are shorting the pharmacy.

    The supplier’s name is McKesson Canada

    For those of you who have had problems in obtaining your 3 month supplies please get in touch with your pharmacy and check who the supplier for the pharmacy is

    If we can gather information and forward it to some of the reporters we as consumer patients may effect some change. If it is the case drug suppliers are trying to create artificial shortages so they can increase their profits we are in trouble. Lower income people won’t be able to afford medications. Private plans will have to increase fees and our provincial government is going to hVe to spend more on the pharmacy program. Perhaps in this time of pandemic, drug supply companies are making a run for the gold and hoping the gov won’t notice

    If some one can check who owns or is the major shareholder for McKesson Canada
    That would be good. There may be a financial or familial link between a large chain and the suppliers. I would suggest McKesson Canada isn’t the only one playing this game of shake down artificial shortages

    Harvey please feel free to forward this on to any reporter/journalist you may wish to. If any one wants to run with this go for it. My current heart and broken leg is impeding my ability to do much more. I will be sending a letter to the editor of my local paper once my blood pressures reach a point where I can stop swearing.

    (Response: This reminds me of stories I used to hear about organized crime controlling the cheese supply used by pizzerias in Montreal and New York: buy theirs … or take your “chances” buying elsewhere …and good luck finding any pizzeria buying from anywhere else. How the BC government not be doing ANYTHING to stop this shakedown of seniors and the chronically ill ??? The NDP supposedly cares more about people than profit gouging by corporations … but so fart, not in the case of pharmacies! And where is Andrew Wilkinson and the Liberals? Backing the ripoff artists? Shameful! h.o.)

  29. Rainclouds c says:

    Sent today to Trudeau Horgan Dix

    Dear Sirs

    I am writing to express my disgust with the current situation where pharmacies will NOT renew 3 month prescriptions. 1 Month at a time only. I as well as my wife are Sr’s and are now forced to go monthly do to a unilateral dictate by the college of Pharmacies.

    There is no possible argument they ( Pharmacy Associations) can present to warrant such a ridiculous and harmful mandate that does nothing for the public but much for their revenues. This gouging is revolting at any time BUT in the midst of a pandemic even more repugnant!

    I LOOK TO YOU THE LEADERS OF YOUR RESPECTIVE GOVERNMENTS TO HALT THIS PREDATORY BEHAVIOR.

    (Response: Well done! Now if every reader of this blog could do that ..and get friends and relatives to do the same as their part in fighting phoney profiteering during the Covid crisis … I really believe we could exert enough pressure to get government to act. h.o)

  30. Richard Skelly says:

    Good points all, Harvey.

    If I might digress: My wife is what’s known as a complex-care individual—with a lupus-like autoimmune disease, diabetes and Post-Polio.

    Since our GP retired in the early 2000s, it’s been nothing but walk-in clinics for both of us. She had one clinic doc who she’d see regularly who would give 90 days on some of her meds. But two years ago, the clinic closed, he retired and now ever-changing anonymous-care docs prone to asking “What’s your name and condition again?” Needless to say, they give only 30-day prescriptions with no refills.

    Conservative estimates are that upwards of 700,000 British Columbians cannot find a GP.

    Being relatively healthy, I don’t mind waiting my turn at a walk-in clinic.

    But it’s a broken system that doesn’t ensure complex-care patients are paired up with a regular physician. We found out about a program to incentivize doctors (i.e. pay them extra) to accept complex-care patients. Just as the multi-year program was being cancelled. Because doctors either didn’t know about it. Or didn’t want the hassle of complex cases no matter what the payment.

    My wife certainly got used to being turned down for that very reason when she tried to find a replacement 17 years ago for her longtime GP. Back when there were still a few single or double-doctor offices.

    (Response: Your situation brings up another ripoff: doctors who require patients with chronic but stable conditions to come back for a NEW prescription every 30 days. I believe they get paid for a visit, each time they see you and they write up another Rx. Luckily I have terrific medical practitioners for my own challenges, but it seems many more are like you, with almost everyone making more and more money off the patient! I’m sure the NDP government would be screaming like hell if the Liberals were in power and letting this go on!! Why aren’t they doing anything about the pharmacists ripoff??? h.o)

  31. max avelli says:

    This the official line from the College of Pharmacists https://www.bcpharmacy.ca/resource-centre/covid-19 (see about halfway down the page)

    My pharmacist is insisting on dispensing only one month of my chronic medication which is resulting in me paying more. Is this allowed?

    We are recommending no more than a one-month’s supply for most people in order to help reduce the potential strain on the drug supply chain. However, we would expect pharmacists to use their professional judgment based on each patient’s situation to determine what is appropriate. In particular, for patients with compromised immune systems or who have an increased risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19 – they may require a longer supply to enable them to safely self-isolate at home.

    Under ordinary circumstances, on a yearly prescription someone could, in theory, pay out-of-pocket for amounts over what either PharmaCare or a third-party insurer would reimburse. We are asking pharmacies to not accommodate these requests at this time to help reduce the risk of drugs shortages.

    It would ultimately be a business decision with regards to dispensing fees and would be at the discretion of the individual pharmacy.

    (Response: It’s a ruse for anyone to claim that the extra cost will simply be upped by insurers or Pharmacare. ANY added costs are ALWAYS passed on to those who pay the piper ..and believe me, it will be YOU … not the insurance companies! h.o)

  32. Leila Paul says:

    @13 – I regret I may have made an incorrect assumption regarding your comments. I may have projected my own views based on events I observed. I was present when union leaders came to a political party’s meeting to endorse the party and their candidates. They were abandoning the NDP.

    I felt that was unprincipled since they had not consulted the membership before switching support from one political party to another. If I implied other union leaders are like that I was in error. It was a rash comment on my part, for many union leaders are dedicated to their membership and their ideals.

  33. Leila Paul says:

    Does anyone know what’s happening in the other provinces? BC’s dilemma of restricting medication is likely to get worse. I’ll make inquiries about what’s happening in Ontario. I haven’t needed to refill any scripts as I rushed to get a good supply as soon as I heard of a possible epidemic.

    There are probably a number of factors causing this restrictive response of dispensing meds. Individual drugs that are being rationed (or it seems they are) is likely because one of the primary – if the the primary – suppliers of medications or the ingredients in meds, is China.

    Since China has very probably suffered a great deal more devastating epidemic in its own main centres, China’s ability to produce drugs safely or provide ingredients safely, is very likely diminished.

    All parties in the chain of providing drugs to the patient are aware of China’s significant role in producing drugs – as well as other essentials we’ve carelessly allowed ourselves to rely upon.

    So I’m guessing all levels in the supply chain have agreed to restrict access to all drugs regardless of whether they are related to COVID-19 or other conditions that result as complications from the novel coronavirus.

    Other meds being rationed might be caused by the fear there will be a shortage in future months because of the possible disruption in supply of drugs from China or ingredients needed to complete their manufacture. Perhaps other countries that also supply durgs or their ingredients may also be suffering high rates of COVID-19 infection.

    It’s difficult to imagine an action that can now remedy the negligence involved in reliance on China as a primary source, or other countries as secondary sources. It has taken decades for this subordinate position we’re in, regarding our dependence on foreign sources.

    While it’s easy to blame politicians, it’s also fair to acknowledge our political leadership under both Liberals and Conservatives have contributed to what we are now experiencing.

    However, our immediate problem is – what do we do about shortages now? The whole world is going to be in a similar situation if indeed this rationing of meds is caused by shortages or anticipated shortages.

    The usual standard of demanding action is to assemble in front of legislative buildings and demand immediate remediation.
    None of that is now possible. We cannot assemble in groups. We’re far off from the next federal election where the greatest influence exists to acquire meds from global sources.

    What do we do now to help one another now? If others on this blog are in different provinces, perhaps each of us could report what we can learn of what’s happening in our provinces.

    If BC is suffering more than the rest of the country, how do we determine if we have some extra supply of life-saving drugs that could be shared between provinces?

    Can suppliers be forced to be more transparent about their stock of drugs and which ones are in short supply?

    I will see what I can learn tomorrow if Ontario has changed its rules on amounts of meds being dispensed. If others do the same, maybe we can come up with a proposal that would help provinces such as BC, that are experience shortages or rationing.

    (Response: The Triple Fee Scam is NOT about shortages. As I stated in my piece, of course, if any drug is in short supply, rationing can be understood. But the fee shakedown applies to EVERY drug … even those generics in very plentiful supply. Why? There is no defensible reason for that in my opinion … other than to rip off patients …at their most vulnerable time! Shameful! h.o)

  34. e.a.f. says:

    The rip off starts with the suppliers who short the pharmacies. The province and federal governments are responsible for clearing this mess up. We have a number of Canadian drug manufacturers. So the question is are they running short of ingredients to make drugs. If they are we need to know. All of us need to know and the government needs to start production here in Canada. Once the drug companies have their claws in they aren’t going to let go.

    There are a number of groups mentioned which are impacted by this. The one we didn’t raise are those with PTSD. Many who have PTSD will be affected more by the uncertainty of their medication supply. Many with mental illnesses will not be able to deal with the uncertainty of the medication supply. Some thing needs to be done before the suicides start not that the suppliers and pharmacy cares

  35. Leila Paul says:

    First the insult. This statement was made by a pharmacist whose name I will not use for I do not know her authority within the medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex. But it was a statement made to Global News:

    “Don’t panic. You do not need more than one month of medication on hand.”

    I’ve made some inquiries and this is what seems to be apparent:

    The restrictions or rationing of medication is happening all over the country. All organizations and associations are engaged in dialogue with politicians, pharmaceutical associations and medical health care professionals trying to come up with resolutions to the problems of assuring adequate supply.

    They’re also discussing the fact that patients are paying 3 or 4 times more often for dispensing meds since they’re being restricted to a 30-day supply in every province.

    And they recognize the more often chronically ill patients have to go to pharmacy dispensing units, they increase their risks of exposure to the virus while also further exposing pharmacists themselves to additional risks.

    Now the irritating double-speak that is offensive to anyone with common sense:

    The rationale or excuse for rationing drugs to 30-day amounts? They want to prevent hoarding.

    No one can “hoard” prescription medications unless a pharmacist just hands out the drugs without a prescription. That’s always been the logic behind requiring doctor-issued prescriptions!

    So we must challenge this assertion as it is completely illogical. No one can just walk it and get an unlimited supply of prescription meds and start stashing it in the back of their closets or cupboards. They need a prescription to get any amount of regulated drugs.

    All those concerned and related to this problem recognize the issue arises from the SUPPLY CHAIN with China , or as they prefer to say, “outsourcing”. And to whom did our decision-makers outsource the production of essentials?

    Did they monitor the safety and reliability of those to whom we outsourced?

    We know who is the primary source on whom our country’s leadership (corporate and political) have outsourced production of life-sustaining essentials but to say so will result in being castigated.

    And their reasons? To cut their costs and increase their profits.

    Consequences – and who suffers those consequences – did not seem to enter into the equations or the balance sheets. Their bottom line was – I am guessing – to bust union labour costs and drastically cut corporate payouts in labour costs.

    The decision-making elite won’t have to worry because the elites are able to acquire whatever they want. They may even be among the first to be hoarding since they likely have access to international sources, albeit in limited amounts.

    Do we matter?

    And how is hoarding presumably going to occur by the common folk?

    No patient whose health depends on taking their medication is going to be so foolish as to acquire drugs on prescription and then not take the drugs but instead hoard them.

    The elite decision-makers whose negligence created this problem know the public cannot hoard prescription meds. They’re just trying to save face by DEFLECTING responsibility onto the masses, and kick the problem further down the road.

    There eventually WILL BE DRUG SHORTAGES unless IMMEDIATE restoration is possible of our own medication production facilities.

    But do we now have among us individuals who were not processed or screened for diseases before being allowed to reside in Canada and access our safety net and its therapies?

    Has this added to demand without governments FIRST ensuring supply will RELIABLY meet future demands?

    Instead of accepting their responsibility for the negligence to foresee this easily predictable obvious result of reliance on foreign sources – without assurances of reliable supply will meet increasing demands – the decision makers are trying to blame the public who might engage in “hoarding drugs only available by prescription”!

    It’s so totally irrational and deeply offensive for them to imply Canadians are able hoard drugs when the public does not have unlimited access.

    The real cause of possible shortages is negligence and complete lack of logic in predicting obvious potential shortages.

    Hoarding is not the problem. It’s stupidity that is the problem on the part of those entrusted to foresee the obvious.

    People can hoard toilet paper because there’s no need for a medical prescription to limit the rolls of toilet paper a person acquires and how often that amount can be acquired.

    How does limiting drugs to a monthly rationing prevent a shortage? It does NOT. It only DELAYS the inevitable.

    Unless Canada can open up its few still existing medical drug facilities and get them into production quickly – we are going to see a shortage eventually.

    Even if the drug production facilities that were downsized or eliminated were capable of being restarted quickly – who is going to be the employees who do the work?

    Are they going to be able to work in facilities at a distance of 2 metres from one another? Unlikely.

    Do we have in Canada personnel still capable of working flawlessly to produce medications and can they work with one another in a seamless team effort when most of them have had to find other jobs or remained unemployed for extended periods of time?

    More importantly, will they be able to source safe and uncontaminated ingredients needed to produce medications here?

    I have grave doubts about the likelihood that the answer to those questions is “yes”.

    So what do we do now?

  36. Leila Paul says:

    This jargon-infested document was issued three years ago! Did any of the “stakeholders” read it?

    https://www.drugshortagescanada.ca/files/MSSC_Toolkit_2017.pdf
    2.9 Federal Government
    ….
    (halfway down page 11 online pdf)

    Other Federal Departments

    To supplement the extraordinary needs of P/Ts [Provinces and Territories] in times of critical emergency – such as a mass casualty event or a pandemic –PHAC [Public Health Agency of Canada] maintains a limited supply of select drugs in the National Emergency Stockpile System (NESS). When manufacturers and/or healthcare facilities cannot meet urgent medical supply needs, PHAC can enable emergency access to products or alternatives. The Government of Canada, through various programs, provides drug coverage for over one million Canadians who are members of ELIGIBLE GROUPS (my emphasis and question: do they take precedence over ordinary Canadians?), including: First Nations and Inuit; members of the military (my note: and yet they’re often neglected); veterans; members of the RCMP; eligible refugees (my ques: which “refugees” those coming over illegal crossings>); and inmates in federal penitentiaries. The federal government also represents Canadian interests in international fora such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organisation [note spelling is British – is this a ‘copy and paste’ document from Britain?] for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and partners with international regulatory counterparts to assess and prevent the global cause of drug supply disruptions.
    On behalf of F/P/T governments, PSPC manages the F/P/T Bulk Purchasing Program (BPP) for Vaccines. The BPP works with P/Ts, as well as the federal CSC, DND, the RCMP and HC to acquire a

    3. DRUG SHORTAGES: STRATEGIES AND TOOLS
    This section describes the activities and interaction of key players in each link of the drug supply chain, including causes of drug shortages; and drug shortage strategies and tools. Figure 2 presents a visual overview of drug shortage tools at each stage of the supply chain….

    3.2.1 Causes of Drug Shortages

    Many drug shortages arise in the manufacturing stage. If the manufacturer cuts back, delays, temporarily ceases, or discontinues the production of a drug it may cause a disruption or shortage in supply. Shortage severity may be more significant when the drug in question is produced by only one manufacturer and for which there are limited (or no) therapeutic alternatives. Below is a list of the most common causes of drug shortages originating at the manufacturing stage:

    •Non-compliance with standard manufacturing processes ….
    •Foreign inspections and non-compliance of foreign suppliers (or local manufacturers) with foreign regulatory requirements can result in unanticipated drug shortages in Canada. Resulting shut-downs of foreign manufacturers may cause shortages in the Canadian market.

    •The majority of manufacturers in Canada use SINGLE SOURCE FOREIGN SUPPLIERS FOR RAW MATERIALS. (my emphasis) single source foreign suppliers for raw materials. Many manufacturers source these materials from the same suppliers. When raw material supply is halted in an international jurisdiction for any reason (e.g., non-compliance with GMP standards, political unrest, natural disasters) the local manufacturer(s) is confronted with a lack of necessary supply.

    •In most production facilities, even minor changes in manufacturing procedures or production lines cause a temporary reduction or stoppage of manufacture of products. In many cases, facilities require regular upkeep and maintenance and are able to prepare for this temporary disruption by PROACTIVELY INCREASING PRODUCTION. (my emphasis) However in some instances, unanticipated stoppages do occur.

    •Global economic trends see fewer manufacturers producing drugs for increasing market demand. Corporate mergers and acquisitions (particularly in generics) lead to fewer manufacturers and business decisions that increase the risk for drug shortages, such as: discontinuance of products that are no longer profitable; downsizing product portfolios; and the addition of new products which limits the capacity to continue manufacturing the same volume of existing products. •Unanticipated increases in demand resulting in insufficient quantities to meet actual/anticipated needs.
    •Inconsistencies in international…blah blah blah….

    3.5.3Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee on Drug Shortages (MSSC)

    As noted in the Foreword, the MSSC was struck in August 2012 [my note: Eight years ago! why is rationing occurring in 2020?]. The Committee is co-chaired by a representative from one of the P/T Ministries of Health and Health Canada and includes a number of industry and healthcare organizations from manufacturing, distribution and front line delivery. MSSC objectives include drug shortage prevention and mitigation, crisis management and resolution, and building knowledge and sharing information.

    I suggest all those interested read the entire fig-leaf.

  37. e.a.f. says:

    Canada has generic drug making companies. they do get their ingredients from over seas though in some cases. One of the largest of these companies was owned by the Late Mr. Sherman and his wife Honey. They were murdered in their home in Toronto and the murderer is still at large

    My take on this, based on nothing, is this may be the drug companies last stand against the government which they are afraid is going to implement a national drug plan. A national drug plan would change the whole system. this may be the drug companies way trying to convience 3 of the political parties they ought not to go with a national plan. its just a thought which crossed my mine.

  38. Jay says:

    Leila,

    I must disagree with you.
    As a paramedic for the last 20 years I can say without a doubt that people do horde medications. They do it for multiple reasons.
    The biggest reason? They have no clue why they are taking the medication. Unfortunately many doctors these days just write a script and don’t tell the person why they need it.
    I have been to thousands on patient encounters where you ask someone if they have any medical conditions and they say no. You then ask if they are on any medications and they have a garbage bag full. They have no idea what they have or what they are taking.
    Some because they don’t know that they are taking the wrong dose.
    Some are deliberately not taking the right dose.
    Some forget to take a dose.
    Some change their dose depending on how they feel.
    Some stop taking a med even though they don’t consult a doctor and still fill the prescriptions.
    Some horde to take their own lives.
    We constantly see the elderly or those with other issues non compliant with meds. This leads to “hoarding”.
    I do not agree with the current system. I understand its intent. But to say that no one hordes is wrong. Especially in this climate.
    When some one is told that there will be shortages, they horde. We have seen this with toilet papers and other items. So why not medications? Apart from people who do not order their own meds (people in care homes for example) others will be told that there are shortages and they will act in a way that they feel is appropriate for them.
    Our system is a good one. A doctor may be a quack and prescribe way too much or too many meds but our pharmacists have a brain. If they feel the dosages or amounts are in error they have the professional responsibility to say so.
    They can track and evaluate a patients needs.
    Opioids have been a bad example lately. Not because they are bad but because they are used wrong.
    I have been to many calls where someone was given incorrect advise or just plain ignored it and overdosed themselves.
    Other meds are not the same though. We can’t use the opiod crisis as an example that doctors are failing in their role. The vast majority of overdoses are not prescription related, they are due to the dealers either deliberately or unintentionally mixing drugs.
    I am not defending drug dealers. I feel that they prey on people in their worst moments. But to compare them to ethical doctors and pharmacists is a little ridiculous.
    Pharmacists have to get paid. I understand that. I am not a pharmacist so not sure how they get paid. If it is by script then maybe that needs to change.
    The reality is that this crisis will cause alot of changes. Hopefully for the better.

  39. Leila Paul says:

    I don’t dispute your observations Jay, I’m sure they’re accurate.

    I just wonder if they’re representative of the vast majority of rational people. I wonder if those who may require the ongoing or repeat attention of paramedics may be compromised in terms of rational behavior, as well as health. In some instances, physiological health may be interactive with cognitive functions.

    From reports I’ve read or seen, it appears that those who tend to hoard things are often not entirely rational. Garbage bags full of prescription drugs would not seem to me to be something of the norm. If indeed garbage bags full of prescription meds have been hoarded, then the person issuing those prescriptions might be somewhat negligent.

    I still would guess, however, and certainly hope, that type of hoard would be in the minority.

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