Module is a “dictator”, said Jean Coutu

News 11 July, 2017
  • Picture By Philippe Orfali
    Jean Coutu Group

    Philippe Orfali

    Tuesday, 11 July, 2017 17:00

    Tuesday, 11 July, 2017 17:00

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    Jean Coutu does not digest the “lack of respect” shown by the government Couillard in its health reforms, and the famous pharmacist has not been shy to shoot on red cannon balls on the minister Barrette, Tuesday, at the meeting of the shareholders of the group that bears his name.

    With a light step, Mr. Coutu has gotten on the stage, twirling his cane to Charlie Chaplin, under the eyes amused of many shareholders.

    His good mood did not prevent him to attack the minister Barrette, who has been criticized for being gone for hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of pharmacists in recent years.

    “Gaétan Barrette of a sudden forced all pharmacists in Quebec to give the $ 300 million to the government. […] I cannot tell you that it is a dictator… but it’s not far”, he said.

    Quebec has finally heard with the Association québécoise des pharmaciens propriétaires, in April, and the funds that were to be taken out of the fees of the pharmacists were eventually maintained until 2019. The government will also “professional allowances” paid to pharmacists by generic drug manufacturers, as requested by the Jean Coutu Group.

    Difficult relationships

    But still. “We can not deny that for the past 2 or 3 years, our relationship with the minister of Health have been difficult. […] The past few years have left me with a bitter taste. That was what made me the most surprised, it is the lack of respect in this public debate,” added the man of 90 years, whereas the Jean Coutu Group announced its results for the 1st quarter.

    He could understand the government’s objectives, and to share its aims of management responsible for public finances. “Our pharmacies have always been able to do their part.”

    A spokesperson for the minister Barrette has indicated that it will not react to the release of Mr. Coutu.

    Profits down

    It occurred then that the changes made in order to reduce the costs of prescription drugs hurts the Jean Coutu Group. The chain has posted profits down in the 1st quarter, despite an increase in revenues.

    Profits decreased by $ 3.5 million, from $ 49 million last year ($0.27 per share) to $ 45.5 million ($0.25 per share) for the quarter that ended on 3 June.

    This decrease is attributable to the loss of profitability of Pro Doc, a subsidiary of generic drugs.

    In spite of everything, the Jean Coutu Group has increased its revenues by approximately 3.7 %, which are passed 723,6 million $ to the same period last year to 750,4 million $ this year.