The Canadian Association of Clinical Psychologists (CAAP) is warning that pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are under-paying their own pharmacists by overpaying them.
“We have been working hard for decades to get this law passed and the government has taken a huge step backwards,” CAAP President Robert G. Balsam told reporters in a news conference Thursday.
“This law has been designed to create a very favourable environment for our healthcare professionals.
This is not the case.”
According to the law, pharmacists are entitled to compensation for medical expenses related to prescribing a prescription.
The compensation will include “costs of the prescribed drug, supplies and other incidental expenses related thereto, such as administrative expenses and costs related to a contract to administer a drug, the administration of which is done in accordance with this Act.”
In theory, this means pharmacists can also deduct from their wages the cost of the prescription.
But in practice, pharmacist wages are capped at $10 an hour.
The legislation states that a pharmacist’s wages are not limited to the amount paid for a prescription and that pharmacist pay should be considered a part of compensation.
“A pharmacist’s wages may include, for example, other expenses that may be related to providing services, including the purchase and installation of equipment and supplies,” the legislation states.
The proposed legislation also gives pharmacists a “qualified professional exemption” that allows them to deduct their salary from their taxable wages.
“The exemption provided by the qualified professional exemption will provide pharmacists with a mechanism to make payments that are appropriate for their level of compensation,” the CAAP said.
It said pharmacists who have a qualifying exemption are entitled “to a maximum deduction of $15,000 per calendar year for the first three years of employment.”
A pharmacist who has a qualifying deduction will have to pay an employer $500,000 for each calendar year in which the exemption is in effect.
This means a pharmacists wage is capped at about $10 per hour for pharmacists.
“There are certain pharmacists that are very fortunate in that they are able to keep a lot of their pay below $10,000,” Balsom said.
“That means there is a real incentive for pharmacist employers to pay more.”
The government’s decision to make the pharmacists salary capped at a fixed amount has not gone down well with the pharmacist community.
“It’s very unfair to pharmacists, particularly if they are professionals that are working full-time,” Belsam said.
The bill is set to be debated by the House of Commons in the coming days.
In its release on Thursday, the government noted that pharmacistry is not a profession.
“Pharmacists are not doctors, pharmacologists do not dispense drugs and, while pharmacists may be paid by employers, they do not receive any payment for their services.
They are not required to follow specific policies, such a pharmacology policy,” the government said.
“The pharmacists profession is not required by law to be regulated.”