Generic drug deal to save Que­bec mil­lions an­nu­ally

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The Que­bec govern­ment says it will save more than $300 mil­lion a year on generic drugs af­ter reach­ing a deal with the as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing Canada’s generic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies.

Health Min­is­ter Gae­tan Bar­rette be­lieves the five-year agree­ment in prin­ci­ple will save the prov­ince $1.5 bil­lion, which will be re­dis­tributed in the health-care sys­tem.

The Cana­dian Generic Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal As­so­ci­a­tion said the deal in­cludes fur­ther price dis­counts and the launch of new cost-sav­ing generic pre­scrip­tion medicine.

Que­bec al­ready spends about $800 mil­lion a year on generic drugs and Bar­rette wanted to re­duce those costs.

The deal is ex­pected to come into ef­fect this Oc­to­ber.

“What will hap­pen is a re­duc­tion in price on both the pub­lic sec­tor and the pri­vate sec­tor,” Bar­rette said.

“Que­be­cers will see on their bill, the price of generic drugs will go down as of this fall.”

In late June, in the midst of thorny ne­go­ti­a­tions, Que­bec had said it was pre­pared to go to ten­der­ing in or­der to get cheaper generic pre­scrip­tion drugs.

The as­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment that a key clause in the deal is that Que­bec won’t put out ten­ders for the drugs.

“This ne­go­ti­ated agree­ment is a much bet­ter path for­ward for tax­pay­ers, pa­tients, health-care providers and the generic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try than a risky ten­der­ing sys­tem,” said as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Jim Keon.

Keon had pre­vi­ously said such ten­der­ing could threaten jobs as well as the sup­ply of cost-sav­ing generic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts.

Que­bec’s generic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try sup­ports 4,100 di­rect jobs and cre­ates a di­rect eco­nomic im­pact of $769 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion.

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