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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service to begin public consultation late June, early July

Community input, chief constable says, ‘will occur’

Surrey RCMP reunited three stolen puppies with their mom. (RCMP handout)
Puppies stolen from South Surrey home located, reunited with mom

Surrey RCMP said they found the stolen puppies on April 16

Welcome to your park sign marks the spot where 84th Avenue will continue east from King George Boulevard 
to 140th Street as part of a $13 million road project. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Road Rage: Opposition mounts anew to Surrey’s plan for 84 Ave. at south end of Bear Creek Park

Same place, same project, same fight as Surrey prepares once again to connect 84th Avenue between King George and 140th Street in Newton

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read