Lower drug prices to benefit patients, health system

VICTORIA – The Ministry of Health is terminating its generic drug pricing agreement with the B.C. Pharmacy Association and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, effective April 1.

Health Minister Michael de Jong has asked staff to draft legislation to control and further lower the prices of generic drugs.

Patients and the public health-care system can expect to save significant amounts of money on the cost of generic prescription drugs this year, said de Jong today.

Currently, generic drugs cost 40 per cent of the brand name price. That rate is already scheduled to lower to 35 per cent on April 2.

Through legislation, the Province will aim for a reduction to 25 per cent of the cost of the brand name drug by April 1, 2013.

The Province plans to have the legislation introduced during the spring sitting of the legislature.

The Province expects to reinvest savings achieved in the health-care systems to enhance patient care in a variety of ways, including keeping PharmaCare affordable for lower-income B.C. seniors and families, increasing funding for pharmacy services such as medication management and in continuing to protect rural and remote pharmacies.

In July 2010, The Ministry of Health reached an agreement with the B.C. Pharmacy Association and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores to significantly lower the price of generic drugs. However, the Province did not realize the estimated savings promised and is therefore terminating the agreement.

 

The Province expects to recoup those losses fully and achieve additional savings through a legislative framework.