Montreal

Gaétan Barrette says limiting drug coverage to generics will save at least $40M a year

The Quebec government is hoping to save at least $40 million a year on its public drug plan by only covering the cost of generic drugs for most prescriptions.

Health minister says Quebec paid out $80 million in premiums last year for brand-name drugs

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette says the changes could save $40 million. (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

The Quebec government is hoping to save at least $40 million a year on its public drug insurance plan by only covering the cost of generic drugs for most prescriptions.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said the government paid out $80 million in premiums last year for brand-name drugs because doctors wrote "no substitutions" on their prescriptions. 

"We believe because many people will prefer to use the original, we expect to save $40 million," Barrette said Thursday in Quebec City. 

Barrette said in exceptional cases, the government plan will still cover brand-name drugs, such as when patients are allergic to non-medicinal substances contained in the generic formula.

The new measures will take effect on April 24, but prescriptions with the "no substitutions" instruction written out before that date will be valid until June 1.

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