British Columbia Drops Generic Drug Prices

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 9 (UPI) — The British Columbia government announced Friday it will reduce generic drug prices by cutting rebates manufacturers pay to pharmacies, industry officials said.

In addition, industry sources said the province’s nearly 1,100 drug stores will get government funding to help them provide new services, including medication therapy for customers, The Globe and Mail reported Friday.

British Columbia is the latest province cracking down on the rising cost of generic prescription drugs. However, British Columbia’s approach avoided a public fight similar to one Ontario’s government had with the country’s largest drug store chains by abolishing the rebates altogether.

Ontario raised the ire with pharmacies when it abolished the rebates generic drug manufacturers pay to pharmacies, which totaled $815 million last year. Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said the rebates, known as professional allowances in the province, were largely responsible for the high cost of generic drugs in Canada.

British Columbia spends more than $900 million annually on prescription drugs through its PharmaCare program, The Globe and Mail said. Generic drugs are capturing a greater percentage of that amount, totaling $286 million in fiscal year 2008-09.

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