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Can I accept coupons? Should I provide them?

November 28, 2018
ACP’s guidance for the use of manufacturers’ coupons.

ACP Council has approved guidance for the use of manufacturers’ coupons (i.e., STI) in pharmacy practice. This guidance will assist pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to make decisions that comply with ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.


Regulated members

  1. may accept manufacturers’ coupons, subject to consideration of principles arising from ACP’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians; and,
  2. must not provide manufacturers’ coupons to persons to obtain drug products and services, unless the exceptional circumstances contemplated by the compassionate exception apply.

Principles supporting guidance when accepting a manufacturer’s coupon

  • Be person and family-centred, rather than drug-focused. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians’ primary consideration is the well-being of every individual they serve. They respond to the health needs of individuals, taking into consideration their personal abilities, limitations, values, and preferences.
  • Duty to act in the best interest of individuals, free from bias and conflict of interest. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make evidence-informed decisions that are determined to be in the best interest of the individuals in their care and must not place their personal benefit or interest before that.
  • Ensure privacy of personal health information. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians ensure the privacy of personal health information of individuals in their care.
  • Drug-use decisions should be evidence-informed. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make informed decisions to ensure each individual’s right to appropriate healthcare.
  • Access to drug therapy and care. Pharmacists consider alternatives to support an individual’s access to and continuity of drug therapy and care. The relative costs of treatment are a complementary consideration to evidence-informed clinical decisions.  Where cost or the ability to pay is an impediment to access pharmacists work with individuals and other members of their health team to assess the cost and benefits of alternative drug treatment and care.

Principles supporting guidance when providing manufacturers’ coupons for compassionate reasons

  • The provision of a manufacturer’s coupon by a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician to an individual to acquire a drug product at their pharmacy is an inducement. A pharmacist or pharmacy technician must not provide a manufacturer’s coupon to a person, except in extraordinary circumstances for compassionate reasons.
  • Compassionate reasons are based on the circumstances of the person and will support the healthcare of the person.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should review ACP’s Guidelines for interpreting the principle of compassion to support them when considering to provide a manufacturer’s coupon for compassionate reasons.