October 2017

Prescription drug invoice: first impressions

More than two weeks have passed since Bill 92 came into force in Quebec, which requires pharmacists to break down the cost of prescription drugs on invoices to clients. However, the intended effects are slow to emerge.

Little to no questions asked

Bill 92 was adopted as a result of a lengthy debate on the lack of transparency of Quebec pharmacists’ professional fees and profit margins. While this new legislation is a major victory for private plan sponsors and insured members, it will not have the intended effects unless insured members pay close attention to their prescription drug invoices and understand the information presented. At this time, the new invoices have not resulted in many questions to pharmacists or to insurers.

It is in the best interest of private plan sponsors to raise awareness among members about the impact of their pharmacy’s practices on the cost and sustainability of their group insurance plan. The new itemized invoice has a lot of information, and it can be difficult to wade through it all. Let’s start with the basics:

Encourage insured members to pay close attention to the variable amount from one pharmacy to the next, which appears as “Pharmacist’s fee” on the invoice, and to select a pharmacy that values both quality service and costs.

You can use this image to help you educate your insured members.

The detailed invoice: Applies only to drugs on the RAMQ’s list

The expectation was that the new invoice would detail the cost of all prescription drugs. However, we have noticed that pharmacists have strictly applied the legislation, which states that only prescription drugs covered by the public plan are subject to transparency. Consequently, drugs that are not on the RAMQ’s drug list are not be itemized on the pharmacy invoice. If your group insurance plan covers a list of prescription drugs more inclusive than that of the RAMQ, some of your insured members may continue to receive a non-itemized invoice.

For more information, please refer to the NB bulletin of September, and feel free to contact your Normandin Beaudry advisor.

Please feel free to contact us for additional information.