A ban on getting loyalty reward points on prescription drug purchases has been struck down in court after a challenge by Canada Safeway and Thrifty Foods.

Pharmacy rewards ban struck down in court

B.C. Supreme Court Judge finds rule against loyalty points on drugs was 'unreasonable'

A ban on issuing loyalty reward points and other incentives on prescription drug purchases has been struck down in B.C. Supreme Court.

It’s a victory for major grocery store chains that filed the court challenge as well as point-collecting shoppers and a defeat for the College of Pharmacists of B.C., which imposed the ban.

The college had argued loyalty points are a powerful lure that can alter some shoppers’ buying habits and potentially harm their health.

It suggested some patients may go without their medicine until they can fill a prescription on a day when a loyalty point bonus is offered.

College officials also argued insured patients who don’t pay out of pocket might keep refilling a prescription after they no longer need it just to collect more points and the unneeded drugs may be abused or diverted to the illegal drug trade.

But Justice Christopher Hinkson ruling found the college’s bylaws blocking all incentives were “unreasonable” and too broad.

“Their net effect is harmful to the public interest in obtaining pharmacy services and prescriptions at the lowest price,” his ruling says.

Hinkson said the claims of pharmacy college board directors defied common sense.

“The concern that customers will overspend on their drug and device needs in order to collect the rewards offered is illogical,” he found. “The cost of the drugs or devices to customers will invariably exceed the value of the rewards offered.”

The judge noted the ruling doesn’t stop the college from drafting a new bylaw to more reasonably address its concerns.

The College of Pharmacists of B.C. said it has made no decisions on what steps it might take next.

The court challenge was filed by companies that operate Canada Safeway and Thrifty Foods.

The ban also lost in the court of public opinion – the college received 14,000 emails mostly opposing the ban.

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Coastal GasLink prepares sites of construction work camps

Unist’ot’en condemn 14 ‘man camps’ housing 500-800 workers as threatening safety of women and children

TSKLH Nation sues Province over Brucejack mine revenue sharing

The Tsetsaut/Skii km Lax Ha seeks to assert rights and title in the area around Pretivm gold mine.

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Most Read