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

Wetaskiwin liquor store robbed Feb. 21

Two suspects arrested after store employee threatened with bear spray

Vehicle and oversize load collide near South Cooking Lake turnoff

Strathcona County RCMP respond to serious injury collision on Hwy#14

Questionable reffing is becoming the NHL norm

Perhaps mandatory eye tests would help boost officials’ capabilities

Wetaskiwin Friendship Center gains momentum

Wetaskiwin city council reinforces its support behind Friendship Center

Just stop the political correctness stupidity

Seriously, stop ‘peoplekind,’ leave the anthem alone

WATCH: Red Deer celebrates one year out from 2019 Canada Games

Community gathers at Great Chief Park to commemorate Games milestone

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

Most Read