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B.C. will reduce the price of generic drugs to 20 per cent by 2014. (iStock)

The B.C. government is cutting the price of generic drugs from 35 per cent of the brand name price to 20 per cent by 2014.

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says the new regulation will take effect next April and will reduce generic drugs first to 25 per cent of the cost of their brand name equivalents by April, 2013.

"B.C. families will soon notice that they pay less at the till when they fill their prescriptions," MacDiarmid said in a statement issued on Friday morning.

"Additionally, these price reductions will result in savings to our government that will help enhance patient care for seniors and families."

In 2010 the B.C. government cut the price of generic drugs from 65 per cent of the brand name price to 35 per cent. 

Lowering the cost of generic drugs was initially resisted by the pharmacy sector, but the B.C. Pharmacy Association is now accepting the move, saying the government listened to its concerns about phasing in the new costing plan.

Kenneth G. Martin, president and CEO of Pacific Blue Cross, said the new regulation brings B.C. in line with other Canadian jurisdictions.

New price breakdown for Lipitor

  • The current cost, not including standard pharmacy fees, of a 30-day prescription of the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor is $55. 
  • The price of the generic version of this drug today is 35 per cent of  the brand name price, or about $19.
  • Starting April 1, 2013, the price of the generic drug will be reduced to 25 per cent of the brand name price, or $14. 
  • On April 1, 2014, the price of the generic drug will be reduced another five per cent to $11.

(Source: B.C. Ministry of Health)

 

With files from The Canadian Press