Question Period March 20, 2018: Pharmacists in Alberta


EDUCATION THAT ALBERTANS NEED.>>HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR VERMILION-LLOYDMINSTER.>>WELL THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER, IN A RECENT POLL 95% OF ALBERTANS SAID PHARMACISTS WERE THE MOST ACCESSIBLE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. ALBERTA’S 5,000 PHARMACISTS ARE TRUSTED FRONT LINE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD AND THAT’S WHY IT’S BAFFLING TO UNDERSTAND WHY ALBERTA HEALTH FORCED THE PROVINCIAL ASSOCIATION OF PHARMACIST, THE RXA, TO SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT DURING RECENT NEXTS ON A NEW PHARMACY FUNDING FRAMEWORK, SO TO THE HEALTH MINISTER, FOR A GOVERNMENT THAT PRIDES ITSELF ON OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY, WHY WAS IT NECESSARY TO MUZZLE TRUSTED FRONT LINE PROFESSIONALS WITH A GAG ORDER?>>Speaker: Hon. Robert E. Wanner: MINISTER OF HEALTH.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH, MR. SPEAKER AND TO THE MEMBER FOR THE IMPORTANT QUESTION. WE RESPECT THAT NEGOTIATIONS HAPPEN AT THE TABLE AND LIKE IS THE CASE WITH ALL ORGANIZATIONS THAT WE’RE NEGOTIATING WITH, INCLUDING UNIONIZED GROUPS, WHAT WE ASK FOR IS THAT BEFORE YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR MEMBERS, PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT YOU’LL BE SAYING AND THAT IS STANDARD PRACTICE, MR. SPEAKER, AND WE’RE PROUD TO CONTINUE THAT. WE’RE ALSO PROUD OF THE FACT THAT WE CAME UP WITH AN AGREEMENT THAT SEES A 4.3% INCREASE, WHICH IS VERY REASONABLE, TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE ACCESS FOR DRUGS ACROSS ALBERTA BUT THAT WE’RE MAKING SURE THAT THAT RESULTS IN THE BEST OUTCOMES FOR PATIENTS MR. SPEAKER.>>Speaker: Hon. Robert E. Wanner: SUPPLEMENTAL.>>WELL, MR. SPEAKER, CERTAINLY NOT WHAT THE PHARMACY ASSOCIATION HAS TOLD ME AND GIVE THAT THE PHARMACISTS ADMINISTERED OVER 50% OF THE FLU VACCINATIONS IN ALBERTA LAST YEAR, GIVE ALBERTA HEALTH HAS FAILED TO MEET ITS OWN VACCINATION TARGETS FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS AND GIVEN THAT THE NEW FUNDING FRAMEWORK CUTS THE FEE PAID TO PHARMACISTS FOR ADMINISTERG FLUIN VACCINE TO A LEVEL WHERE IT IS NO LONGER ECONOMICALLY VIABLE FOR THEM TO PROVIDE THIS SERVI, TOCE THE MINISTER, IN THE INTERESTS OF PUBLIC HEALTH WILL YOU AT LEAST CONSIDER RESTORING THE PREVIOUS FEE PAID TO PHARMACISTS FOR ADMINISTERING FLU VACCINATIONS?>>Speaker: Hon. Robert E. Wanner: THE HONOURABLE ER OF HEALTH.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH, Mr. SPEAKER AND I UNDERSTAND THAT THE FORMULA WAS REACHED IN PAST WITH THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT, WITH WHICH THE MEMBER WAS A PART OF, AND THAT FEE WAS 50% HIGHER, MR. SPEAK, THAN THE NEXT HIGHEST JURISDICTION IN CANADA. SO WHAT WE’VE DONE IS WE’VE BROUGHT THAT IN LINE TO STILL BE THE HIGHEST IN CANADA BUT NOT TO BE AN OUTLIER BY 50% AND WE DID THAT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PHARMACIST, THE RXA AND I’M REALLY PROUD OF THE FACT WE CAME TO A GOOD OUTCOME THERE, MR. SPEAKER.>>Speaker: Hon. Robert E. Wanner: SECOND SUPPLEMENTAL.>>WELL, MR. SPEAKER, YOU DID IT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS UNDER A GAG ORDER AND GIVE THE FACT PHARMACISTS ARE TAXPAYERS TOO AND SUPPORT MEASURES TO REDUCE HEALTH CARE SPENDING, PROVIDING IT DOES NOT HARM PATIENT CARE AND GIVE THE RXA PROVIDED THE GOVERNMENT’S THIRD PARTY NEGOTIATOR WITH OVER 40 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COST SAVINGS, NONE OF WHICH WERE INCORPORATED INTO THE FINAL AGREEMENT, TO THE MINISTER, WHY DID YOUR HIRED GUN NEGOTIATOR IGNORE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF ALBERTA PHARMACISTS?>>Speaker: Hon. Robert E. Wanner: THE HONOURABLE MINISTER.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. SPEAK, WHAT WE DID IS WE SAT DOWN AT THE TABLE IF A RESPECTFUL WAY WITH OUR BUDGET, WHICH AS YOU’LL FROM LAST YEAR’S BUDGET HAS A 473% INCREASE AND SWEAT THESE 12% INCREASES REACHED BECAUSE OF HOLL APPROXIMATELY SEES UNDER THE FORMER GOVERNMENT ARE NOT FAIR TO ALBERTANS AND AND WE NEED TO FIND A WAY FOR MOB SUSTAINABLE. WHAT WE DID WAS SAT DOWN WITH BOTH PARTIESND A AGREED ON A FORMULA THAT WILL GET US THERE. I UNDERSTAND THAT PERHAPS THE MEMBER OPPOSITE WANTS TO DEFEND POLICIES AS SKYROCKETING COSTS AT THE COST OF PATIENT OUTCOMES MR. SPEAKER BUT ON THIS SIDE OF THE HOUSE WE’RE ALWAYS