On October 28, 2013, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec [Québec health insurance board] (the “RAMQ”) opened an administrative investigation of owner-pharmacists working under the Pharmaprix banner.
In its investigation the RAMQ sought to determine if Pharmaprix owner-pharmacists had received unauthorized benefits from the generic medication wholesalers and/or manufacturers with whom they did business. The RAMQ proceeded to take a sample by questioning more than sixty pharmacists. In the context of this investigation, Fasken has made significant efforts to mobilize more than twenty professionals at a time in connection with: preparing the owner-pharmacists’ four waves of questionnaires; analyzing and revising thousands of documents to be provided to the RAMQ; developing the strategy and recommendations offered to our clients; and preparing several urgent proceedings brought before the Superior Court. On this last point, two of the proceedings sought to request that the investigation be deferred and subpoenas canceled due to highly complex issues relating to situations of conflict of interest and professional secrecy. Both of these proceedings have been appealed to the Québec Court of Appeal.
In addition to the important legal work they have accomplished, Marc-André Fabien and Chris Semerjian were responsible for coordinating the various interviews with all clients (nearly 200 owner-pharmacists), lawyers, representatives of Pharmaprix/Shoppers Drug Mart, and professionals from Fasken Martineau.
The case began in October 2013 and was closed at the end of 2019 as part of an out-of-court settlement that was to the full satisfaction of the pharmacist-owners.