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.

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

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read