Responsible promotion of immunization services: they're not free
September 22, 2015
Patients may not have to pay out of pocket for publicly funded immunizations, but that does not mean the services are free.
Further, there are situations where individuals, such as visitors from out of province, must pay for an immunization. Advertising these services as such could be determined to be misleading.
Section 24(1)(a) of the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation stipulates that, "A licensee and a proprietor must ensure that advertising in relation to a licensed pharmacy is not false or misleading.” If a third party is paying for the service, it is not free and patients should be aware that there is a cost to their health plan and the province.
Therefore, ACP is requesting that all pharmacy licensees review the policies and practices at their pharmacy with respect to promotion of this year’s publicly funded immunization program.
Please ensure that all internal and external promotion of your pharmacy’s immunizations services do not indicate that they are free. If you feel the need to advise patients that they will not be required to pay for services provided by your pharmacy; then more acceptable wording may be something akin to “…at no charge to you.”
ACP previously provided guidance on his subject through The Link on December 4, 2014.