June 30, 2021

Government Orders Review of Long-Term Care Pharmacy Procurement Process

The Minister of Seniors and Rural and Remote Health has directed that the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, review recent changes made to its policy for the pharmacy procurement process in all SHA operated long-term care homes.

Following a recommendation from Ombudsman Saskatchewan in its 2019 Annual Report, the SHA introduced changes in an effort to improve consistency.  The policy relates to the procurement of medication support, product delivery, oversight of quality and after-hours access to pharmacy services.  Unintended consequences for local suppliers were identified during the process of implementing the updated policy.

"After hearing concerns Saskatchewan residents have with this process, I have directed the SHA to withdraw this procurement, undertake a review of the process and reassess its impact on long-term care home residents, pharmacies, health professionals and communities," Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said.  "Pharmacies play a key role in providing important health services to communities, particularly in rural and remote areas.  It will be important to review any risk to the broader community that this procurement process may have posed."

There are 111 SHA owned and operated long-term care homes throughout Saskatchewan which currently have a variety of service arrangements with pharmacies.  Throughout the review, the existing arrangements between long-term care homes and pharmacies will continue.