New plan will save P.E.I. taxpayers $1.2 million
Some generic drugs will soon be a bit cheaper as part of a national price-setting plan Premier Robert Ghiz announced this afternoon.
The plan will reduce the cost of six generic drugs that represent about 20 per cent of publicly funded generic drug costs in Canada.
Ghiz said the plan will save the P.E.I. government about $1.2 million.
"There will also, of course, be savings for those individuals out there who do not have any plans, they'll be able to see savings as well," he said.
The plan came about through the Health Care Innovation Working Group Ghiz and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall led.
It is expected to save the provinces a combined $100 million.
Each province and territory, except for Quebec, will establish a price for the six most used generic drugs at 18 per cent of the cost for the equivalent brand name drug.
Ghiz said the goal is to implement the new prices by April 1.
The drugs include two that treat high blood pressure, two that treat gastrointestinal conditions, one for depression and mental health conditions, and one to treat high cholesterol.
Ghiz said most generic drugs are priced at about 25-40 per cent of what their brand name versions cost.
He also said the provinces plan to keep working toward lowering the costs of more generic drugs.
"This is a first step in terms of dealing with our drug costs across the country," he said.
The governments are able to set generic drug prices and will take a gradual approach because there is an impact on pharmacies and manufacturers, Ghiz said.
"You can't do everything all at once."
Ghiz said the P.E.I. government will likely use part of the savings for deficit reduction, reinvest part of into the provincial drug formulary and put some of it back into pharmacies to deliver more services.
Opposition health critic James Aylward said the reductions were long overdue but P.E.I. is still one of the last provinces without a catastrophic drug plan even though the government said it was committed to one.
"If it's a commitment that you're serious about let's make it happen," Aylward said.
JUST THE FACTS
The six generic drugs in the plan are:
–Atorvastatin, used to treat high cholesterol;
– amipril, used to treat blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions;
– Venlafaxine, used to treat depression and other mental health conditions;
– Amlodipine,used to treat high blood pressure and angina;
– Omeprazole, used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions;
– Rabeprazole,used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions