Loyalty reward points will remain off limits for B.C. shoppers buying prescription drugs.

Supreme Court upholds ban on B.C. pharmacy reward points

Regulators consider prescription incentives a health risk

Shoppers in B.C. who love to collect Air Miles or other loyalty reward points when they fill prescriptions are out of luck.

A ban on pharmacies offering loyalty rewards or other incentives on prescription drugs will remain in force after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal filed by major retailers.

The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia passed a bylaw banning incentives such as redeemable points on the grounds that the practice is unethical, unsafe and unprofessional because patients can be tempted to buy drugs they don’t need.

“Pharmacists are medication experts, and sometimes the right thing for them to do is not dispense a drug,” said college registrar Bob Nakagawa. “A patient’s motivation to collect redeemable points may inappropriately encourage drug use and can put their health at risk.”

One of the objections raised by the college 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.

Incentives have long been forbidden on methadone prescriptions as well as any Pharmacare-covered prescriptions.

The ban was challenged by Sobeys, which owns Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores, on the basis it was an unreasonable restraint, with no evidence of any harm to consumers.

A B.C. Supreme Court  judge originally overturned the ban as having been too broad, but the B.C. Court of Appeal sided with the college in January. The ban has been in force since then.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Police ask for help locating missing high-risk youth

Robyn Coker-Steel has not been in contact with anyone from her home since Dec. 27

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Some 500 people attend Sidney vigil for victims of Iran airplane crash

All 176 passengers, including 57 Canadians, died when Flight PS752 crashed

Six boat wrecks wash up on Cadboro Bay beaches over the weekend

Dead Boat Society working with Oak Bay, Saanich to clear derelict boats

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Most Read