Albertans will now be paying less for generic drugs after new pricing came into effect this weekend. They can also now have their prescriptions renewed by pharmacists.

The Alberta government has reduced the price it pays for generic drugs to 35 per cent of the equivalent brand price, which means new and existing products will be cheaper for consumers effective July 1.

The province says the new pricing should save Albertans out-of-pocket expenses and save the government about $85 million in the next year.

The Alberta Pharmacists' Association says the new pricing brings Alberta in line with nationwide generic drug prices.

Also beginning July 1, the province's pharmacists have been given a bigger role in healthcare.

Pharmacists can now renew prescriptions and get paid to do so.

The new role is expected to ease some of the burden placed on the province’s doctors who should be able to see more patients as a result of pharmacists’ bigger role.

In addition, a Remote Access Grant for pharmacies went into over the weekend.

Over three years, $15.9 million will be distributed to help support remote community pharmacies.