Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Provinces angry over drug rules

From the Globe and Mail:
Provinces are lashing back at proposed federal regulations that would extend the patent life of a number of popular medications and postpone the introduction of generic copies, a move that could cost drug plans hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Generic drugs here play an important role in the sustainability of the provincial plan, so delays in accessing those generic drugs will have a direct cost impact on the provincial drug plan and also [on] patients who pay for their own drugs," said Johanne Leblanc, a spokeswoman for the New Brunswick government.

New Brunswick has written to the federal government to express its concerns and to urge further consultation, she said.

The federal government has not released a list of which drugs will be affected. But the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association, which represents the country's generic drug manufacturers, has said it could include such popular medications as Viagra, the cholesterol drug Lipitor, the blood-pressure medication Norvasc and the arthritis treatment Celebrex.

New Brunswick's provincial drug program spent almost $14.5-million last year on Lipitor, Norvasc and Celebrex alone, said Ms. Leblanc. ...more

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