Saskatchewan to lower generic drug prices

Prices to fall by June 1, 2011, then April 2012

The Saskatchewan government is implementing a plan to lower generic drug prices in the province.

"Over the past number of months, our ministry has been engaged in extensive consultations with pharmacists, generic drug manufacturers and drug wholesalers regarding a plan to lower generic drug prices in the province," said Health Minister Don McMorris. "This plan will achieve significant cost savings for residents and the government while also taking into consideration the impact on community pharmacies."

A key component of the plan is an agreement with the Pharmacists' Association of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores that includes reinvesting a portion of the government's savings into pharmacy reimbursement, such as increased dispensing fees and expansion of professional pharmacy services.

"This was truly a collaborative agreement and we are very pleased with the government's commitment to fair and reasonable remuneration for pharmacy services," said Dawn Martin, executive director of the Pharmacists' Association of Saskatchewan. "We believe this to be a sustainable model and look forward to continued work with the Ministry of Health on enhancing pharmacists' roles within the health system."

The plan would lower the price on most existing generic drugs to 45 per cent of the brand drug by June 1, 2011, and to 35 per cent of the brand drug by April 1, 2012. The price requirement on new generic drugs is 40 per cent of the brand drug which will also be lowered to 35 per cent of the brand drug by April 1, 2012.

Generic drug prices in Saskatchewan have been in the range of 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the brand name price, said the government. To recognize the impact of reduced generic prices on Saskatchewan pharmacies, the maximum dispensing fee was increased to $9.85 on May 1, 2011, and will be further increased to $10.25 on April 1, 2012.

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