The recent announcement that Canadian provinces and territories are moving forward on price setting for six generic drugs will realize an estimated annual savings of close to $10 million for Saskatchewan residents, private insurers and the provincial government.
The price setting announcement was made by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz through the Council of Federation. The two premiers led the Health Care Innovation Working Group, which recommended action on generic drug prices last summer.
Participating provinces and territories will leverage combined purchasing power and have agreed to establish a price point for six of the most common generic drugs at 18 per cent of the equivalent brand name drug. These six generic drugs represent approximately 20 per cent of the publicly-funded spending on generic drugs in Canada. Currently, individual provinces and territories pay between 25 and 40 per cent of brand name prices.
The new prices are to be in effect by April 1, 2013.
The six generic drugs to be priced at 18 per cent of brand 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
Rabeprazole - used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions
In May 2011, the Saskatchewan government announced its plan to lower generic drug prices in the province through a phased-in approach. Generic drug prices in Saskatchewan prior to May 2011 were in the range of 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the brand name prices. Most generic drug prices in Saskatchewan are now 35 per cent of brand name drugs.
There are approximately 1,300 practising pharmacists and over 350 licensed community pharmacies in Saskatchewan.