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News Release

Release Date: 11/10/2016
Staff Reference: Suzie Pellerin

Montreal, November 10, 2016 – The life and health insurance industry welcomes today’s announcement by Health and Social Services Minister Gaétan Barrette of amendments to Bill 92 aimed at reducing the cost of drugs and providing more details on drug receipts. In particular, receipts will clearly set out the pharmacist's professional fees for each service performed, the price paid by the public plan for each drug or service being provided, as well as the wholesaler's margin if any. "On behalf of Quebec employees who have private drug insurance -- which represents 60% of the province’s population -- and their employers, life and health insurers commend Minister Barette's proposal to require more transparency from pharmacists, as is already done elsewhere in the country. We, therefore, strongly recommend parliamentarians approve these amendments," said Lyne Duhaime, President of ACCAP-Quebec, the Quebec branch of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

Over the past few months, ACCAP-Quebec took steps to highlight the inequity between the professional fees charged by pharmacists to workers insured by private plans as compared to those insured under the public plan. As they are not regulated, pharmacists' professional fees are sometimes double, or even triple, those charged to the public plan for exactly the same drug or service, explained Ms. Duhaime. Employees and employers could end up paying close to $400 million more in pharmacists' professional fees each year.

Containing costs and ensuring plan viability

A survey this summer showed that 80% of Quebec residents do not know that pharmacists charge professional fees, or even the amount of those fees. "Once this information becomes available, consumers will be able to make wiser choices, which will contribute to containing the costs of group insurance plans. Insurers also support all other measures that could reduce the cost of drugs," noted Ms. Duhaime.

About the CLHIA

The CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities and supplementary health insurance to more than 28 million Canadians. It administers more than two-thirds of the pension plans of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses and the vast majority of group RRSPs.

For more information please contact:
Suzie Pellerin, Assistant Vice President, Public Affairs and Government Relations (Quebec)
514-375-5076 -- cell: 514-235-3766