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Jean Coutu Group to shareholders: Quebec pharmacists ready for expanded role

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONGUEUIL, Quebec — With a healthcare system that is facing such challenges as an aging population, long wait times at doctors’ offices and overcrowded emergency rooms, Canada’s pharmacy retailer the Jean Coutu Group is optimistic about the expanded role of pharmacists in Quebec under Bill 41, the company told shareholders during its annual meeting on Tuesday.

Under upcoming Bill 41, pharmacists in Quebec will play a broader role within the healthcare system and will be allowed to renew prescriptions and treat certain minor conditions.

For example, if a patient takes a blood-pressure medication that is out of renewals and is unable to see his or her physician in the near term, the pharmacist would be allowed to assess the patient and renew the prescription, if necessary. Also, pharmacists would be able to prescribe medications for 23 different minor conditions, such as recurring urinary tract infections, yeast infections, diaper rash and allergic rhinitis.
 
During the meeting, which was webcast following the release of its Q1 results, the company told shareholders that, thanks to Bill 41, the company will be in a position to help free up physicians from administrative tasks and help broad patient access to healthcare services.

To prepare for Bill 41, the Canadian retailer has adapted its labs and adopted a new set up to ensure that patient consultations are more confidential and comfortable. It also has created an educational campaign to communicate with patients how the pharmacist can help them with their healthcare needs.

In addition, the company, which currently has about 380 pharmacies in Quebec, has developed a professional training program for its pharmacists and technicians for when the new legislation is applied.

The Bill and related regulations were to come into force September 2013, but given ongoing negotiations regarding certain issues, its implementation was postponed.

During the meeting, company executives also provided an overview of objectives for 2015, including:

  • The opening of 14 new pharmacies;
  • Pharmacy acquisitions;
  • Expansion and renovation projects;
  • The launch of new private-label brands; and
  • The opening of a new head office in Varennes.

 

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CHPA Capitol Hill event to focus on legislation to restore OTC eligibility in FSAs and HSAs

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association will be hosting an event July 24 on Capitol Hill in recognition of International Self-Care Day with a focus on the legislation to restore OTC eligibility in FSAs and HSAs. 
 
In addition to Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO, and CHPA chair Jim Mackey, SVP, U.S. region head for Merck Consumer Care, the speaker lineup includes: 
 
  • Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.;
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  • Zhenzyu Guo, chair and founder of the International Self-Care Foundation; and
  • Steven Taylor, CEO of Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. 
 
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BY Ryan Chavis

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