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British Columbia cuts generic drug prices
July 12th, 2010
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The provincial government will cut generic drug prices by reducing rebates manufacturers pay to pharmacies, including British Columbia-based London Drugs and Pharmasave.
At the same time the province’s drug stores will get government funding for new services, including medication therapy management, especially for elderly patients and those with chronic diseases.
The government’s funding promise helped stave off the fight over generic price cuts that broke out this year in Ontario. Drug chains have balked over the complete elimination of rebates in Ontario, where generic prices will be slashed to 25% of their brand-name versions by next year. Those rebates totaled $815 million last year.
The cost of generics in British Columbia will drop to 35% of brand-name versions over the next three years. It is currently about 65%.
Provincial health minister Kevin Falcon said Friday an agreement among the government, the British Columbia Pharmacy Association and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores is expected to save about $380 million annually.
The cost of generic drugs is "unacceptably high," Falcon said. British Columbia pays significantly more than many other countries, he noted.
The province spends over $900 million a year on drugs through its PharmaCare program, with generic drugs accounting for nearly a third of that cost last year.