Shoppers faces proposed class action over claims company is ‘abusive’ to pharmacists

The logo for Shoppers Drug Mart is shown in downtown Toronto, on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima

Aproposed class action lawsuit filed against Shoppers Drug Mart and its parent company Loblaw claims that the companies pressure pharmacists to fill prescription quotas and that their policies can put patients in danger.

The lawsuit was filed April 11 at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Toronto-based law firm Ricketts Harris LLP.

The lawsuit has not yet been certified.

In a statement to Global News, Loblaw said, “This case has no merit whatsoever, and we intend to vigorously defend it.”

The lawsuit claims that in or around the time Loblaw acquired Shoppers, the drugstore had imposed quotas on a number of services.

The services named in the lawsuit include medication reviews — an Ontario-funded service called MedsCheck — as well as vaccinations, and minor ailments diagnosis and prescribing.

If pharmacists fell below the targets, which the lawsuit calls “arbitrary” then allegedly there was “public naming and shaming.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Shoppers Drug Mart arbitrarily terminates agreements with franchisee pharmacists and the terminations are “often abusive and humiliating.”

“Associate-Owners are often berated and insulted by (Shoppers) management, humiliated in front of their staff and colleagues, and ‘perp-walked’ out of their Shoppers Pharmacies,” the lawsuit stated.

It says that corporate practices are imposed on pharmacists with little or no consultation or input, and the practices risk the safety of patients and could cause them harm. The lawsuit says Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw have taken little to no action to address concerns.

The lawsuit is critical of a proprietary computer system that pharmacists are forced to use, which it says is prone to glitches when processing prescriptions and “created a high risk of medication dispensing errors.”

Medication dispensing errors can also occur during off-site and centralization preparation of medications, which is required, the lawsuit says.

Lead plaintiff in the suit is a former franchisee pharmacist from Hamilton, Ont., who had been terminated by the company.

Source: Global News