Lower generic drug prices in Saskatchewan
The Provincial Government is implementing a plan to lower generic drug prices in Saskatchewan. This will result in savings to Saskatchewan residents and the provincial Drug Plan.
"Over the past number of months, our ministry has been engaged in extensive consultations with pharmacists, generic drug manufacturers and drug wholesalers regarding a plan to lower generic drug prices in the province," Health Minister Don McMorris said. "This plan will achieve significant cost savings for residents and the government while also taking into consideration the impact on community pharmacies."
A key component of the plan is agreement with the Pharmacists' Association of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores that includes reinvesting a portion of the government's savings into pharmacy reimbursement, such as increased dispensing fees and expansion of professional pharmacy services.
"This was truly a collaborative agreement, and we are very pleased with the government's commitment to fair and reasonable remuneration for pharmacy services," Pharmacists' Association of Saskatchewan Executive Director Dawn Martin said. "We believe this to be a sustainable model and look forward to continued work with the Ministry of Health on enhancing pharmacists' roles within the health system."
"The Saskatchewan Government continues to demonstrate true leadership on a very challenging issue, and clearly understands the importance of community pharmacy to patients and the health system in Saskatchewan," Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores Chair Mark Dickson said.
The approach taken by Saskatchewan required input from several key stakeholders, including the generic drug industry.
"Canada's generic pharmaceutical manufacturers make an important contribution to affordable health care in Saskatchewan," Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association President Jim Keon said. "Through collaboration with our partners in government and the pharmacy community, the value of generic drugs to Saskatchewan patients and taxpayers will be even greater."
Highlights of the plan include lowering the price on most existing generic drugs to 45 per cent of the brand drug by June 1, 2011 and to 35 per cent of the brand drug by April 1, 2012. The price requirement on new generic drugs is 40 per cent of the brand drug which will also be lowered to 35 per cent of the brand drug by April 1, 2012.
Generic drug prices in Saskatchewan have been in the range of 50 - 70 per cent of the brand name price. To recognize the impact of reduced generic prices on Saskatchewan pharmacies, the maximum dispensing fee was increased to $9.85 on May 1, 2011 and will be further increased to $10.25 on April 1, 2012.
Saskatchewan has benefited from collaborating with other Western provinces on this important initiative. The Ministry of Health will continue to work closely with these provinces and other key stakeholders as it moves forward with its plans in the coming weeks and months.