BC families paying less at the pharmacy

  • Apr. 5, 2013 3:00 p.m.

British Columbians may now notice they are paying less formany of the generic prescription drugs they need for their health. Starting April 1, a new drug pricing regulation reduced the price of generic drugs to 25 per cent of the brand name price, from the current rate of 35 per cent of the brand name price. The price will further dropto 20 per cent next April. “Thanks to this regulation, B.C. families will pay less at the till when they fill their prescriptions. These price reductions will also save moneyfor the provincial government – money that can be used instead to help enhance patient care in B.C.’s health system,” said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. The drug price regulation is the first in a suite of regulations required to fully implement the Pharmaceutical Services Act, which came into force last year. The act shifts BC’s PharmaCare program from relying ongovernment policy, to being protected by legislation. The regulation allows the Minister of Health to regulate the price of prescription drugs. Generic drugs have the same quality, strength, purityand stability as their brand name equivalents and are made to the same strict standards. “Reducing the price of generic drugs benefits our clients by making prescription drugs more affordable for families and employer insurance plans,” said Kenneth G. Martin of Pacific Blue Cross.”We support this regulation, as it brings B.C. in line with other Canadian jurisdictions and helps ensure fair and consistent pricing.” “As retirees and members of the Municipal Pension Retirees Association, we believe that seniors jeopardize their health to pay for costly drugs,” said Steven Polak, president of the Municipal Pension RetireesAssociation. “The new drug legislation introduced by the government has changed this. Now we, the MPRA, believe that seniors can have the drugsneeded at a cost seniors can afford.” BC PharmaCare helps British Columbians with the cost of eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies. As one of the most comprehensive drug programs in Canada, it provides reasonable access todrug therapy for every British Columbian through several drug plans. Under B.C.’s Families First Agenda, government is working to make life more affordable for all. To learn more, or to shareyour ideas, visit: www.familiesfirstbc.caExamples of savings as a result of the drug price regulation:* The current cost, not including standard pharmacy fees, of a 30-dayprescription of the cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor is $44. The price of the generic version of this drug today is 35 per cent of the brand name price, or about $15.40.* On April 1, the price of the generic drug will be reduced to 25 per centof the brand name price, or $11. On April 1 2014, the price of the genericdrug will be further reduced to 20 per cent, or $8.80.* The anti-platelet drug Plavix currently costs $85.20 for a typical 30- day prescription, not including standard pharmacy fees. Currently, the generic version costs 35 per cent of that amount, or about $29.20.* On April 1, the price of the generic version dropped to 25 per cent of the brand name, $21.30. Next year, the price of the generic drug will bereduced to about $17.

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