Drug wholesaler ordered to pay $21.5 million for pharmacist benefits

(File photo)

The drug wholesaler McKesson Canada agreed to pay $21.5 million to the Régie de l'assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ) as a result of a dispute concerning the benefits that pharmacists may have received.

The Régie de l'assurance-maladie made the announcement Friday in a news release.

The RAMQ specified that the amount was paid "without admission of responsibility" by the drug wholesaler McKesson Canada "in order to avoid long legal proceedings".

As the details of the agreement are confidential, the Régie cannot comment.

The RAMQ launched a vast investigation a few years ago into the benefits that pharmacists received in connection with the purchase and sale of drugs. As the RAMQ administers the Quebec prescription drug insurance plan, it carries out inspections, audits, investigations and other control measures in this context. These measures can affect both drug manufacturers, wholesalers, intermediaries and pharmacies.

A similar agreement was announced last September with Shoppers Drug Mart, which operates as Pharmaprix in Quebec. A sum of $20.2 million was paid, in compensation for the amounts that were claimed - also "without admission of liability". 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2020.