A recent agreement to lower generic drug prices in Canada could has some pharmacists worried about potential increased costs to patients. File photo

Push to lower drug costs may do the opposite

Ponoka pharmacist worries if generics fall too low, companies may stop making them

A recent agreement that would see generic drug costs drop may have the opposite effect in the long term.

Late last month, the provincial, territorial and federal governments across Canada agreed with the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association on a new framework that will reduce the price of about 70 commonly prescribed generic drugs. The price drop takes affect on Apr. 1 and will more than triple the number of drugs that will be discounted up to 90 per cent from the brand name drugs.

The list of drugs included in the agreement range from blood pressure medications to anti-depressants to drugs for diabetics and those fighting high cholesterol.

Now while some pharmacists, as well as the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), applauded the move to cut costs for patients, companies and governments, there are concerns about both the future and where government savings will go.

“While we certainly like to see drug costs go down for our patients, there is currently a shortage in the drug supply and the worry is that if generic manufacturers stop production, then everyone will face higher costs,” explained Ponoka Professional Pharmacy’s Jamil Rawji.

“The problem becomes at what point will it not be worth it for them to keep making the generic versions? Pharmacists always encourage having cheaper costs for patients, but I’m worried about my own patients if that supply dries up.”

Rawji understands the need for governments to be fiscally responsible, but will generic manufacturers put in the time and effort if the return continues to be less and less, he asked.

Meanwhile, the CPhA — which represents around 42,000 pharmacists — feels the savings by governments in the agreement need to be reinvested in what the group calls community healthcare.

Alistair Bursey, chair of the CPhA, explained in a release that pharmacists have never been more accessible and could be doing a lot more if the money saved were targeted through needed investments in harmonizing services, providing enhanced coverage levels and helping ensure medicines are being used effectively.

“Pharmacies have never been more important to patient and community health. From counselling patients on how to take their medications safely to giving flu shots, pharmacists are consistently providing the highest level of care to Canadians,” stated Alistair Bursey, CPhA chair in a release.

Just Posted

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

19-year-old man faces charges after windows were smashed at three different businesses

The 2018/19 Influenza Immunization Program begins Oct. 15th

Influenza immunizations will be available free of charge

Darrell Paulovich remembered after accident claims his life

A tragic accident claimed the life of a rodeo advocate over the weekend

Central Music Festival presents Matt Minglewood Oct. 18th

He performs Oct. 18th at the Elks Lodge

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Temporary access allowed for residents of landslide-threatened B.C. community

The district says areas of access to the community of about 54 homes could be expanded, depending on advice from a geotechnical engineer.

Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Washington Potst reporter Jamal Khashoggi

Sears files for bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

The company started as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s

BREAKING: Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers

Most Read