Inducement prohibition information


News release: September 22, 2017
Alberta College of Pharmacists wins appeal, inducement ban to be reinstated

 View Inducement Policy


Judicial review adjourned

The judicial review, scheduled for January 15, 2015, was adjourned due to the unavailabilty of a judge. We will post an update once a new date is confirmed.

Inducement prohibition stay granted

Sobeys, operating as Safeway and Sobeys in Alberta, applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a judicial review of the prohibition on inducements. The judicial review is currently scheduled to be heard by the Court in January 2015.

The prohibition on inducements was to come into effect on June 10, 2014. Sobeys applied to the Court for a stay on the prohibition on inducements until the judicial review can be heard by the Court. The application for the stay was heard on May 23, 2014. On June 4, 2014, the judge made his ruling and has granted the stay until Sobeys’ application for judicial review can be heard.

Therefore, in accordance with the direction of the court, the amendments prohibiting inducements on the condition that a patient obtain a drug product or professional service will not go into effect on June 10, 2014. Those amendments are stayed until the Court hears arguments about and decides Sobeys’ application for judicial review.

When amending our standards and code of ethics, our Council made a carefully considered decision acting within its authority and responsibilities. When Sobeys’ application for judicial review comes before Court, the college will defend the amendments to the Code of Ethics and Standards that prohibit inducements conditional on a patient obtaining a drug product or professional service from a regulated member or licensed pharmacy.

On April 10, ACP’s Council voted to amend the Code of Ethics and Standards to prohibit regulated members from offering, providing or being party to offering or providing an inducement to a patient where the inducement is offered or provided on the condition that the patient obtains a drug product or a professional service from the regulated member or the licensed pharmacy.

The prohibition will come into effect on June 10, 2014.

(Note: Council initially set May 1, 2014 for the amendments to come into effect. The college then wrote to pharmacy groups to determine their ability to comply with the amendments by this date. The responses indicated that, due to information technology changes required, some pharmacies would be unable to comply by May 1. Council convened by teleconference on April 22 to consider the feedback, and amended the effective date to June 10, 2014. Council's goal is that all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, licensees, and owners can and will comply with the amendments. Based on the feedback we received, the amended date is reasonable and will allow for full compliance by all pharmacies.)

Read the amendments

Factors in the decision

Council and the college understand that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are healthcare professionals, not simply vendors of drugs. As the regulatory body, it’s our job to make sure work environments support our registrants and the care they provide to patients. It is also our job to set and maintain high ethical and practice standards, and protect the integrity of pharmacy.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Alberta are privileged with a unique scope of practice and new practice model, unique in North America. The best benefit that patients can receive is high quality care.

We must make sure pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can work in an environment where the critical decisions they must make can be made objectively - without any real or perceived impediment. The adoption of these amendments is just one more step we’re taking to support such a professional environment.