Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Quebec takes hard line with drug supply chain

JULY 2017 - Provincial regulations are driving significant changes in Quebec’s drug industry and supply chain—and other provinces are taking note. That was the message Ghislain Gauthier, Director at Pangaea Group, a consulting firm, told an audience of some 150 pharmacy stakeholders at the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy’s annual Charity Golf Classic.

Ghislain Gauthier  

Describing the new regulations to be implemented as part of Bill 92 as ones with “teeth and consequences,” he said the Quebec government’s latest move to cut drug costs and curb shady practices should be a warning to all. “Be compliant or otherwise you’ll pay the price,” he said.

And it’s a hefty one. Manufacturers, wholesalers or intermediaries hindering the work of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Quebec (RAMQ)—who will now be authorized to intervene in cases of fraud or business irregularities—could face fines of up to $1 million. “With this Bill, RAMQ is basically saying enough is enough and they will investigate any wrongdoings,” said Gauthier. “One can expect that other provinces will keep an eye on how this is unfolding.”

Some of the key aspects of Bill 92 that have be implemented over the next 12 months include:

  • no exclusive agreement between pharmacies, wholesalers and manufacturers;
  • no payment or reimbursements on the price of medications; and
  • no limiting the supply of medications to a restricted number of pharmacy owners (unless a notice of compliance with conditions has been issued by Health Canada).

Also expected soon is a clarification of the regulation around what the payment or reimbursement can be on the part of a drug wholesaler, manufacturer or an intermediary in humanitarian cases.

Gauthier told the audience to stay abreast of Quebec’s changes and build contingency plans in their own jurisdictions in the meantime.