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Price-drop for generic drugs in Alberta
Published Thursday, January 28, 2010 6:18PM MST
Albertans will be getting a price break on generic drugs as the government rolls out the next phase of its pharmaceutical strategy.
Effective April 1, the price of currently available or existing generic drugs, which are generic drugs already included in the Alberta Drug Benefit List as of October 1, 2009, will be reduced from 75 per cent to 56 per cent of the price of comparable brand name drugs.
Last fall, the province announced the price of new generic drugs would reduce from 75 per cent to 45 per cent of the price of comparable brand name drugs.
The second phase of the government's strategy also allows pharmacists to perform expanded services such as patient consultations, medication reviews and immunizations, to better meet the needs of their patients.
And it's a move the Alberta Pharmacist's Association is happy with.
"This is a very positive move on behalf of government during really tough times," said Margaret Wing.
But the reduction is not acceptable for some. Friends of Medicare argue the price of existing drugs should be the same as new generic
drugs, at the 45 per cent level.
"This is a reduction in what was announced in the fall anywhere
between $8 and $10 million [in] savings passed on to consumers. You
won't achieve true savings for Albertans until you take on the drug
manufacturers," said David Eggen with Friends of Medicare.
The strategy was expected to save the province $100 million a year, but the health minister now says that number may be seen more like a target.
"We are still targeting the $100 million in savings, but if it comes in at 90…so be it," said Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky.
The province says there has been no movement on the price of brand name drugs because it has no jurisdiction in that area. The minister did say the government hopes to negotiate contracts with brand name manufacturers to possibly reduce costs through volume discounts.
With files from Dez Melenka