Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (SDM) is set to reduce store hours in response to planned pharmacy reimbursement cuts by the Ontario government.

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Retail News Breaks

SDM cuts store hours, citing Rx reimbursement cuts

April 13th, 2010

TORONTO – Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (SDM) is set to reduce store hours in response to planned pharmacy reimbursement cuts by the Ontario government.

The drug store chain said that starting Tuesday, April 13, it will "undertake the first in a series of reductions in store operating hours" by cutting hours for seven stores in the London, Ontario, region.

SDM noted that two of those stores will also implement additional reductions in pharmacy hours in which the pharmacy is closed and the rest of the store stays open, known as "lock and leave." The reductions will be effective seven days a week, "unfortunately removing over 170 hours of front-line health care and pharmacy access from London residents weekly," SDM stated.

And starting on April 19, stores in the London market will also be implementing a fee for delivery services, the retailer added.

"The decision to reduce our operating hours in the London market was a difficult one for our associate-owners," SDM president and chief executive officer Jürgen Schreiber said in a statement. "However, given the impending funding cuts to community pharmacy announced by the Ontario Liberal government, we must modify our business model to ensure the long-term sustainability of our stores.

"We regret the inconvenience these changes may cause to our valued patients and customers," Schreiber commented. "Our associate-owners are deeply committed to serving their patients and customers to the best of their ability and will continue to do so under these difficult circumstances."

SDM said it will continue to review its operations market by market across Ontario and will provide updates on any further changes.

The service reduction wasn't unexpected. Last week, SDM denounced the Ontario government's plan to halve its pharmacy reimbursement rate for prescription generic drugs, stating that the move "will have a direct negative impact on pharmacy services and patient care in the province of Ontario."

According to SDM, Ontario's plan calls for generic prescription prices for patients under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program to be cut from the current level of 50% of the equivalent brand-name price for multisource generics to 25% of the equivalent brand-name price.

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