Time: January 2010 – June 2010

Pharmacy Avg. Dispensing Fee Submitted
All Pharmacies $9.80
Brunet $11.71
Canada Safeway $7.96
Emergis Reimbursements $8.13
Clinique Sante $8.87
Costco $4.11
IDA $9.78
Essaim $9.16
Independent $9.55
Jean Coutu $9.38
Lawtons / Sobeys $8.12
Medical Pharmacies (Osh) $8.60
Meditrust (Mail Order) $7.81
Obonsoins $10.60
Pharma Plus / Medicine Shoppe $9.85
Pharmasave $9.63
Pharmex (Mail Order) $6.67
Pharmx Rexall $9.47
Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix $10.95
Loblaws $9.41
Wal Mart $9.45
Zellers $9.02
A&P / Dominion / Miracle Mart $9.25

Watch those fees…

Dispensing fees have a significant impact on drug plan costs. Wise consumerism encourages employees to shop smartly for the best dispensing fees. This can involve simple awareness promotion, or a more active dispensing fee cap as part of the plan design.  Both approaches are equally effective.

The pharmacies listed in the table above are major chains.  Independent operators have fees that are both on the low and high side of the ones listed above.

The simple message for employees is to check the professional fee posted behind the pharmacy counter at their next visit.

In doing so, employees will note that there are local variations in different areas of the Province and even within large cities; however, large chains tend to be relatively consistent in their pricing.

Professional fees (dispensing fees) are the amounts pharmacies charge for providing professional services such as patient counseling, monitoring drug therapy, drug information to physicians and dispensing drug products.  They also cover overhead costs, such as the stocking of medication, maintaining patient medication records, and general operating costs such as taxes, employee salaries, rent, insurance, etc.

The second simple message that plan sponsors need to communicate to their employees applies to those who have indefinite or long term prescription medications for maintenance drugs. Under most plans, they will be eligible for a 100 day supply of drugs at one time, so it is clearly advantageous to pay one professional fee versus three.

A simple discussion with the prescribing doctor will save the plan and in some cases the plan member from additional costs. This is before any convenience savings are even factored into the overall equation.