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Central purchase plan a loss for rural pharmacies

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Concerns have been raised locally, regarding the change to pharmacy service to personal care homes (PCH) in the Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) region.
Barret Procyshyn, president of Pharmacists Manitoba, explained the provincial government recently contracted MediSystem Pharmacy Manitoba for its centralized purchase and delivery system for pharmacy service to PCHs.
“We are confident that MediSystems will be able to fulfill the contract, as they’ve tendered,” Procyshyn said.
He is also certain Manitoba Health will deal with any inefficiencies, such as patients not getting medication in a timely manner, or receiving the services contracted.
“Obviously we’re concerned for rural pharmacies, because this is a big loss of business. This is a big loss of income,” Procyshyn said, adding there have been many cuts from the provincial government recently and Pharmacists Manitoba is concerned with the sustainability of small town pharmacies in rural Manitoba.
With the new contract, though, he feels it is a good time to highlight the services pharmacists do provide.
For example, Procyshyn said, the province recognizes a pharmacist plays an important role in a PCH, for conducting medication reviews, caring for patients and informing families of the medications a patient is taking.
“We would like to see all Manitobans have access to a medication review, because that is a valuable service,” he added.
“It’s covered in almost every other province in Canada, except Manitoba.”
Procyshyn understands many Manitobans are worried about the change to pharmacy services in PCHs, as some pharmacies have had contracts with those facilities for decades.
“They did a tremendous job of making sure personal care homes had their medications every day, families could go to that pharmacy and talk about a loved one’s medication. Personally, I’ve been assured that those same standards will occur,” he said.
Procyshyn confirmed Pharmacists Manitoba has received concerns from families, as well as from rural pharmacies.
“And those messages are being passed along,” he added.
Additionally, Procyshyn questioned how much money will be saved by going to a centralized system, as Manitoba Health has not shared the estimates.
“We would like to see those savings reinvested back into pharmacy and to offering these services for all Manitobans,” he said, noting many people are in assisted living situations or being cared by a family member who do not have access to a medication review and would benefit from front-line pharmacy services.
If the province reinvested in those services, Procyshyn anticipates it will save on hospital visits and PCH admissions, which are costly to the provincial budget.
He recommends anyone feeling a family member is not receiving proper care through MediSystem Pharmacy Manitoba, talk to their local PCH manager.
Manitobans have the option to purchase medications from another pharmacy, Procyshyn said, but those costs would not be covered by the province.
“If they’re to be covered by the province, they’ll have to get them through the contracted pharmacy,” he said.
According to PMH, MediSystem Pharmacy Manitoba is based in Winnipeg and provides pharmacy services to PCHs in four regional health authorities in Manitoba.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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