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NB Political Parties' Responses to Pharmacists' Questions
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Below are the questions the NB Pharmacists’ Association sent to New Brunswick political parties and the answers we received so far in the order we received the responses:

  1. What will your party do to close the gap in funding between New Brunswick and other provinces for professional services in community pharmacy?
  2. Will your government include community pharmacists in the provider group for all publicly funded vaccines?
  3. Will your government commit to negotiating a new agreement that will provide much-needed predictability to pharmacists, while also generating important opportunities to initiate pilot projects that will benefit New Brunswickers?
  4. Will your government formalize a pharmacy affairs working group with NBPA to identify and prioritize similar initiatives?
  5. Will your government commit to developing a medication waste program with the NBPA?
  6. Will your government work with the NBPA and seniors’ groups to change the copay model for seniors to a percentage basis to encourage them to consider lower priced generic drugs?
  7. What is your party’s position on the national pharmacare file?

 

PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF NEW BRUNSWICK

Questions PCNB
To: nbpa@nbnet.nb.ca
Subject: PC - Questionnaire Response
Date: September 7, 2018 6:10:42 PM

Dear Mr. Blanchard,

Thank you for your email. Thank you as well for all that pharmacists do in our province - they are a vital part of our health care system and in many cases are pillars of the communities in which they serve. Your concerns are important to our party, so please allow us to address each issue in turn.

1) We recognize that engaging pharmacists in healthcare provision can lower wait times and improve standards. We are committed to expanding pharmacists role in providing vital services, including treatment for hypertension and UTI, and we will 2) absolutely consider extending these provisions to include the delivery of vaccines. We will also explore the possibility of pharmacists filling routine prescriptions, as we know this will reduce wait times and alleviate strains on family doctors. We are committed to reducing wait times, and we look forward to working with you in every capacity to achieve this fundamental objective.

3) Our party recognizes pharmacists serious concerns - that is why we are committed to working with pharmacists and the NBPA to improve services and structures for our pharmacies, including reinvesting cost savings from drugs into pharmacy services. We are committed to working closely with pharmacies to address gaps in funding.

4) To achieve these ambitious goals, we also understand the necessity for stable funding, which is why our party looks forward to working with you to maintain and expand programs and funding structures that provide support to all pharmacists. At the same time, we know that stable funding must also provide opportunities for experimentation and pilot programs - where we will work with pharmacists to deliver better services. We will consult with your organization when making changes to pharmacy policy.

5) You raise an absolutely vital issue of improving stewardship of expired and used medicines, and we are committed to ensuring that New Brunswickers receive only the highest standards of care. Our party is committed to sitting down with you to improve our disposal and management programs.

6) We also hope to discuss the issue of generic drugs with your further, as it is clearly a huge change to our health care system and one that needs a proper answer. We will certainly convene senior and pharmacy groups to encourage the provision of generic drugs, and to find an equitable solution that benefits all New Brunswickers.

7) Finally, our party believes in respecting federal jurisdiction, which is why we look forward to working with our federal counterparts once they release their pharmacare plan. We will always conduct constructive discussions with our federal colleagues to improve services and outcomes for all New Brunswickers. Our party awaits the release of the federal government's pharmacare plan with anticipation.

Thank you again for taking the time to write. We look forward to working with you and your association in the coming months.

Sincerely

yours, Team

Higgs

 

De : Questions au PCNB
À : nbpa@nbnet.nb.ca
Objet : PC – Réponse au questionnaire
Date : 7 septembre 2018, 18 h 10 min 42 s

Monsieur Blanchard,

Je vous remercie de votre courriel. Merci également pour tout ce que les pharmaciens et pharmaciennes accomplissent dans notre province. Ils sont essentiels à notre système de santé et, dans bien des cas, ils sont des piliers des collectivités qu’ils servent. Vos préoccupations sont importantes pour notre parti, permettez-nous d’y répondre point par point.

1) Nous sommes d’accord que la participation des pharmaciens à la prestation des soins de santé peut réduire les temps d’attente et améliorer les normes. Nous sommes déterminés à étendre le rôle des pharmaciens dans la prestation de services essentiels, y compris le traitement de l’hypertension et de l’infection urinaire. 2) Par ailleurs, nous envisagerons fermement d’inclure l’administration de vaccins dans ces dispositions. Nous étudierons également la possibilité que les pharmaciens exécutent les ordonnances ordinaires, car noussavons que cela réduira les temps d’attente et libérera les médecins de famille. Nous nous engageons à réduire les temps d’attente, et nous avons hâte de travailler avec vous dans tous les domaines à atteindre cet objectif fondamental.

3) Notre parti a conscience des sérieuses inquiétudes des pharmaciens. Nous sommes déterminés à travailler avec eux et avec l’APNB à améliorer les structures et services destinés à nos pharmacies, y compris en réinvestissant dans des services de pharmacie les économies réalisées sur les médicaments. Nous nous engageons à collaborer étroitement avec les pharmacies pour combler les lacunes en matière de financement.

4) Pour atteindre ces objectifs ambitieux, nous comprenons qu’il faut un financement stable. C’est pourquoi notre parti se réjouit de travailler avec vous à maintenir et élargir des programmes et des structures de financement qui soutiennent tous les pharmaciens. Parallèlement, nous savons qu’un financement stable doit aussi permettre l’exécution de programmes d’expérimentation et pilotes visant l’amélioration des services, dans le cadre desquels nous collaborerons avec les pharmaciens. Lorsque viendra le temps d’apporter des changements à la politique liée à la pharmacie, nous consulterons votre organisation.

5) Vous soulevez la question tout à fait vitale de l’amélioration de l’intendance des médicaments périmés et déjà utilisés, et nous nous engageons à faire en sorte que les Néo- Brunswickoises et Néo-Brunswickois ne reçoivent que des soins de la meilleure qualité. Notre parti s’engage à réfléchir avec vous à l’amélioration des programmes de mise au rebut et de gestion.

6) Nous espérons également approfondir ensemble la question des médicaments génériques, car il est clair qu’il s’agit, pour notre système de santé, d’un grand changement qui nécessite une réponse appropriée. Nous réunirons des groupes de personnes âgées et de pharmaciens pour encourager l’utilisation de médicaments génériques et pour trouver une solution équitable qui profite à toutes les Néo-Brunswickoises et à tous les Néo- Brunswickois.

7) Enfin, notre parti croit au respect de la compétence fédérale, et nous avons hâte de travailler avec nos homologues fédéraux une fois qu’ils auront lancé leur programme d’assurance-médicaments. Nous aurons toujours des discussions constructives avec eux afin d’améliorer les services et les résultats pour toute la population du Nouveau- Brunswick. Notre parti attend avec impatience le lancement du programme d’assurancemédicaments du gouvernement fédéral. Encore une fois, merci d’avoir pris le temps de nous écrire. Nous nous réjouissons à laperspective de travailler avec vous au cours des prochains mois.

L’équipe

Higgs

 

GREEN PARTY OF NEW BRUNSWICK

 

NB Pharmacists Association Election Survey - 2018

1) What will your party do to close the gap in funding between New Brunswick and other provinces for professional services in community pharmacy?

We will allow pharmacists to practice to their full scope of service and bill Medicare for treatments, such as Urinary Tract Infections.

2) Will your government include community pharmacists in the provider group for all publicly funded vaccines?

Yes, as stated above we will allow pharmacists to practice to their full scope of practice and bill Medicare.

3) Will your government commit to negotiating a new agreement that will provide much needed predictability to pharmacists, while also generating important opportunities to initiate pilot projects that will benefit New Brunswickers?

Yes. It is important to us to negotiate a new agreement with pharmacists to replace the one that lapsed over 2 years ago.

4) Will your government formalize a pharmacy affairs working group with NBPA to identify and prioritize similar initiatives?

Yes.

 5) Will your government commit to developing a medication waste program with the NBPA?

 Yes.

 6) Will your government work with the NBPA and seniors’ groups to change the copay model for seniors to a percentage basis to encourage them to consider lower priced generic drugs?

Yes, we will look into a model that provides more affordable access to prescription drugs. We will also eliminate the annual premiums for the New Brunswick Drug Plan for individuals earning less than $25,000 and families of four earning less than $40,000 to assist low income individuals and families.

7) What is your party’s position on the national pharmacare file?

 We support the implementation of a national pharmacare plan.

 

LIBERAL PARTY OF NEW BRUNSWICK

New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association Policy Survey 2018

1. New Brunswick ranks last in Canada in funding for professional services by community pharmacists. New Brunswickers who can afford to pay a professional fee, can access pharmacist services like treatment for Urinary Tract Infections or Oral Thrush directly from their pharmacist. Others have to wait at the After-Hours clinic or Emergency Department. A recent New Brunswick study demonstrates that patients who received direct pharmacist assessment for UTI’s got access a full 24 hours faster than via usual care. What will your party do to close the gap in funding between New Brunswick and other provinces for professional services in community pharmacy?

Improving access to primary care by maximizing the use of health professionals, including pharmacists, nurse practitioners, advanced care paramedics, and midwives is a priority for the Liberal Party of New Brunswick. Since 2014, our Liberal Government has made record investments in health care, having hired over 90 net new doctors and upgrading hospitals across the province. Although much progress has been made, we realize there is still work to be done.

That is why a re-elected Liberal Government will continue to heavily invest in healthcare and budget to invest to hire more healthcare professionals to create more efficient and effective healthcare services to New Brunswickers. Our Government promoted an expanded role for nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nutritionists, and dieticians in our health care system, and a re-elected Liberal Government will further promote an expanded role for nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, and dieticians in our health care system. Our Liberal Government believes in investing in healthcare and pharmacare to improve the work environments and resources of pharmacists’ while they provide effective and high quality health services to New Brunswickers.

On that note, during the Council of Federation meetings in June, our Government had discussions with other provinces and territories on the Federal Government’s proposed national pharmacare program, and we will continue to engage with the Federal Government, provinces and territories on details and possible implementation of this program including funding and investments to be made.

2. Pharmacists are able to provide a wide range of vaccines (much more than just the flu shot). However, pharmacists are not included in the Department of Health’s provider group when administering publicly funded vaccines such as measles mumps rubella, whooping cough, pneumovaxx etc. Vaccines work. This is why they are publicly funded. Given the recent news that as many as 40 people have died in Europe due to measles and that many people are influenced by the ‘anti-vax’ movement on social media, it seems wise to increase access to vaccines. As pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare provider, will your government include community pharmacists in the provider group for all publicly funded vaccines?

The publicly funded seasonal influenza vaccines must be administered by authorized pharmacists, we recognize the hard work and value that these pharmacists bring to the table. Going forward, a re-elected Liberal Government will continue to take actions on improving our healthcare system and protecting the health of New Brunswickers. On that note, we would be open to further negotiation in this area and consider including pharmacists under the Department of Health’s provider group so more publicly funded vaccines may be administered.

3. All other Atlantic provinces have an agreement in place with pharmacy associations or are negotiating one currently. Nova Scotia’s agreement allowed for some reinvestment of drug cost savings into a pharmacy managed INR program for patients who are concerned about blood clotting. This represents almost 30% of lab visits to RHA’s in Nova Scotia, potentially redirecting patients to a more cost-efficient provider while freeing up lab resources. The New Brunswick Agreement between NBPA and Department of Health expired in 2015. Will your government commit to negotiating a new agreement that will provide much needed predictability to pharmacists, while also generating important opportunities to initiate pilot projects that will benefit New Brunswickers?

The Gallant Government has been glad to be able to work with the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association to develop a pricing model that provides consistent and predictable pricing for health supplies, as laid out in the 2016-17 budget.

We see the immense value of projects and initiatives like these, and we are committed to providing more resources and better workplace environments for healthcare professionals while benefiting the healthcare system overall for New Brunswickers. As we continue to engage with partners and stakeholders on healthcare, a re-elected Liberal Government will look forward to continuing our work on these matters with the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association. We would also be open to negotiating the forming of a new agreement together.

4. Other Atlantic provinces have reinvested savings from generic drug price reductions back into meaningful pharmacy services. As part of their pharmacy agreement, Nova Scotia has diverted patients from publicly funded lab services to community pharmacy, for anti-coagulation (INR-Warfarin) tests, which represent almost 1/3 of all lab tests in the province. Will your government formalize a pharmacy affairs working group with NBPA to identify and prioritize similar initiatives?

Our Liberal Government is committed to making prescription drug prices affordable for New Brunswickers, which is why upon re-election in 2014, the Gallant Government made amendments to the Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act that allowed the government to eliminate the previous Conservative Government’s plan to make it a mandatory requirement for New Brunswickers to have prescription drug insurance. Our Liberal Government also created two new premiums for low-income earners in the New Brunswick Drug Plan. This action has provided a New Brunswick Drug Plan that is more fair and reasonable for those that choose to join it. That being said, a re-elected Liberal Government is open to having consultations and meetings with stakeholders, including the New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association, to formalize a pharmacy affairs working group to review the New Brunswick Drug Plan and identify initiatives that need to be further addressed.

5. New Brunswick is one of the last provinces without a formal, industry-funded environmental stewardship program to manage the proper collection and disposal of unused drugs as well as used needles and sharps. The NBPA has submitted a proposal to Department of Health offering to be the steward of a voluntary program. Will your government commit to developing a medication waste program with the NBPA?

Protecting the environment is a priority for New Brunswickers, and it is a priority for the Liberal Party of New Brunswick. Over the past four years, the Gallant Government has been focused on not only addressing this priority but also taking action on it. For the year of 2018-19, the Environmental Trust Fund (ETF) action areas are:

● protecting the environment;

● increasing environmental awareness;

● managing waste;

● addressing climate change; and

● building sustainable communities.

Through the ETF, our Liberal Government is investing about $8.4 million in environmental projects in 2018-19. This includes 227 community based environmental initiatives worth more than $6.6 million, as well as almost $1.8 million in provincewide projects. A re-elected Liberal Government will continue to take actions like these which reflect our commitment to protecting our environment and managing the disposal of waste. In efforts to reduce negative impact on the environment and protect the safety and health of New Brunswickers, we would look forward to consulting with the NBPA on creating a province-wide medication waste program.

6. The price of generic drugs has decreased dramatically due to regulation by provincial governments across Canada. Generic prescriptions now make up 3 out of 4 prescriptions under the NBPDP program and the average generic prescription costs only $20.70. The NB Seniors Drug Plan has a fixed copay of $15. The new NB Drug Plan introduced in 2014 requires a 30% copay. On generic prescriptions it’s actually much cheaper for the patient as their average copay works out to $6.21, instead of $15. Isn’t it time to re-evaluate the copay policies of all government drug plans to better align them with patient interests? Will your government work with the NBPA and seniors’ groups to change the copay model for seniors to a percentage basis to encourage them to consider lower priced generic drugs?

As mentioned before, our Liberal Government is committed to making prescription drug prices affordable for New Brunswickers, which is why, in addition to creating two new premiums for low-income earners, the Gallant Government made amendments to the Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act that allowed the government to eliminate the previous Conservative Government’s plan to make it a mandatory requirement for New Brunswickers to have prescription drug insurance. This action has provided a New Brunswick Drug Plan that is more fair and reasonable for those that choose to join it. A re-elected Liberal Government will work with stakeholders, partners and interest groups to review the current New Brunswick Drug Plan and prioritize any updates, changes and modifications that need to be made in the interest of Seniors’ groups.

7. Provincial Premiers recently issued a statement supporting a national pharmacare strategy as long as Ottawa pays for it. Dr. Hoskins advisory group confirms that roughly 60% of drug plan costs are paid for by the private sector. The NBPA supports a national pharmacare initiative. However, it should provide coverage to all Canadians, allowing room for public payers to set the floor and private payers to set the ceiling. What is your party’s position on the national pharmacare file?

Our Liberal Leader, Brian Gallant, was glad to host the Council of the Federation meetings in June, one of which focused on health and improved access to healthcare. Many informative and valuable discussions of the national pharmacare plan arose at this meeting, specifically regarding costs and consistency across provinces, as well as federal involvement. Going forward, a re-elected Liberal Government will continue to engage in further discussions on this file to sort out more details, while proactively prioritizing initiatives for preparation of this plan or another. Together, with the Federal Government and other provinces and territories, we will finish what we started to find common solutions on how to improve health-care services for all Canadians.

 

UPDATED LIBERAL RESPONSE SEPTEMBER 21, 2018