Pharmacist owners deplore the progress of negotiations with Quebec

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The owner pharmacists deplore the progress of negotiations with Quebec

Pharmacists could reduce their services on the pretext that they do not have sufficient income to make their pharmacy profitable.

The Quebec Association of Proprietary Pharmacists (AQPP) deplores the government's radio silence since it tabled its last offer on June 30. For her, it is an impasse, to the point where she is “in strategic reflection to determine the next steps and consider all options”, according to an internal memo sent to members.

There is disappointment […] and I would say a certain questioning as well […] about the nature of the services that owner pharmacists will be able to offer in the coming years months or years to come, says AQPP president Benoit Morin.

Called as reinforcements by Quebec to vaccinate the population and distribute rapid tests, the pharmacist owners want the government to show them some recognition.

The two parties do not agree on the increase in fees related to the preparation of drugs. These amounts are not used to pay our salaries, but to pay all the expenses of the pharmacy, specifies Benoit Morin.

He explains that the cost of supplies has increased by 12% and that the costs of delivery, gas, electricity and rent have also jumped due to inflation. Like any organization, we face an increase in expenses. The labor shortage is also forcing owner pharmacists to offer better salaries to their employees, in order to encourage their retention.

“As soon as the increase we negotiate with the government is less than our expenses, it limits our ability to develop and provide more services […] it's also simple as that!

— Benoit Morin, President of the Quebec Association of Proprietary Pharmacists

Since they provide essential services, they do not have the right to call a strike. Nor can their association issue a slogan to execute pressure tactics.

However, individually and independently, a pharmacist-owner could decide to reduce his opening hours or no longer offer certain services, on the pretext that he does not have sufficient income to make his pharmacy profitable.

Pharmacists have been called upon by the Quebec government to vaccinate and distribute rapid tests against COVID-19.

Benoit Morin fears the following reaction from some of his members: Vaccination or care are not a source of profit for us. These are services that we agree to provide to the population. It is obvious that a pharmacist owner with more expenses and less income will focus on the essentials. It will not be inclined to develop. There is a certain bitterness because we have the feeling of having held the fort at all times. It's disappointing!

In his plan presented in the spring, Minister Christian Dubé promises that every Quebecer will have access to a health professional, if not able to offer him a Family doctor. Pharmacists will therefore be part of the groups called upon to contribute more to primary care.

The collaboration is there. We are interested. It is the means that are likely to be difficult. We want to be part of the plan, but we must also have the means to develop these services and provide this support. It requires a reasonable agreement for all parties, concludes Mr. Morin.

We invite the AQPP to continue discussions at the negotiating table, indicated the MSSS. , adding that he does not comment publicly on the content of the discussions on the negotiations.

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