Provinces, territories bulk buying to save millions on generic drug costs

REGINA – Nine provinces and all three territories say they’ll bulk buy some generic drugs used to treat everything from high cholesterol to depression.

The regions are working together to get lower prices for six drugs, which represent about 20 per cent of the publicly funded spending on generic drugs in Canada.

The provinces, except for Quebec, and territories are setting the price point at 18 per cent of the equivalent brand-name drug.

Individual provinces and territories currently pay between 25 and 40 per cent of brand-name prices.

They say this joint approach could produce savings of up to $100 million for provincial and territorial drug plans.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who leads a health working group with PEI Premier Robert Ghiz, says drug plan costs have been increasing for all Canadians.

“In recent years the generic drug industry has worked with provincial and territorial drug plans to lower generic drug prices in Canada and, with today’s announcement, we will realize savings that will ensure more dollars for provincial health-care systems across Canada.”

The new prices are to be in effect by April 1.

The six drugs are: Atorvastatin — used to treat high cholesterol; Ramipril — 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; and Rabeprazole — used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions