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Coalition calls for retention of rewards prescription programs

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A local group has launched a petition to help strike down a proposal to ban loyalty rewards cards at BC pharmacies.

According to a survey by the Coalition of Consumer Choice, the group behind the petition,  three-quarters of people don’t think the proposal is fair.

“Because it’s a lot of extra [Air] Miles that I get every time I come here and that’s bonus,” says one mother of two children who gets her prescription filled out at Safeway.

“If it’s going through a pharmacy then they should be trusting the pharmacist to dispense appropriately,” adds another man.

The ban would only affect medications that aren’t covered by the province.

The idea was floated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons last fall, but a decision was delayed until after the May 14th election.

“Many of our members rely on reward programs to help make purchases more affordable,” says Vice-President of the Chronic Pain Association of Canada Roxanne Stewart. “If the government approves this ban, then what purchases will be banned next? BC voters need to tell the politicians to maintain the status quo on reward programs.”

“Removing loyalty points for prescription purchases would be unfair to consumers and anticompetitive,” says Bruce Cran with the Consumers Association of Canada. “Government should not interfere in issues of consumer choice that are best left to consumers and the marketplace to decide.”

The petition already has 10,000 signatures. Seven in 10 British Columbians participate in a rewards program.