shoppers drug mart

Class-action lawsuit coming for Shoppers Drug Mart for suspect corporate practices

The ongoing saga surrounding Shoppers Drug Mart and the profiteering pressures it allegedly puts on its pharmacies has been taken one step further this week as franchisees prepare to launch legal action against the Loblaws-owned chain.

The case, which would take the form of a class-action suit from current and former Shoppers owners, asserts that executives have imposed targets for things like MedsCheck calls — medication reviews for which the company can bill the Provincial Government up to $75 apiece — among other things in the sole interest of profits.

Those behind the litigation believe the level of oversight regularly enacted by corporate has been "unsafe and unethical" to the practice of pharmacy, as it pushes pharmacists to "breach their professional obligations."

And, when they don't abide and/or question the system, some have said they have been punished by losing their franchises altogether.

In the case of the MedsCheck reviews, pharmacists are supposed to assess their patients' medication regimens and determine whether reviews are necessary, as they sometimes are for individuals taking three or more prescription drugs that could have interactions.

But, according to social media chatter and anecdotes from both patients and current and former Shoppers pharmacists, staff are being influenced by higher-ups to make these calls more frequently than they would at their own discretion.

According to the CBC, this new litigation was just filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last week, but "has not yet been certified or tested in court."

In response, a spokesperson for Loblaw Companies Ltd. told the outlet that the claim has "no merit whatsoever," and that the brand will be defending itself against it, though no statements of defence has yet been submitted in court.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP), which regulates the profession of pharmacy in the province, has also gotten involved in the matter, stating at the end of March that it is looking into the claims of heavy-handed corporate influence and "will consider every tool available to us to address those concerns."

Lead photo by

Prashanth Bala/Shutterstock

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