Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Proposed drug changes could cost N.B. millions

From the Fredericton (NB) Daily Gleaner:
Regulatory changes proposed by the federal government that would delay the introduction of generic versions of brand-name drugs could mean millions of dollars in extra costs for New Brunswick's drug plan.

The Conservative government introduced changes to Canada's drug patent rules in April that critics claim would allow pharmaceutical companies to extend exclusive rights on some drugs beyond the current 20-year term.

New Brunswick Health Minister Mike Murphy said Thursday the proposed changes may delay the introduction of generic versions of popular drugs such as cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor, blood-pressure drug Norvasc, and Celebrex.

He said the province spent more than $14 million on the trio of medications last year, adding generic versions would slash prices by up to 50 per cent.

Medication for seniors and nursing-home residents, among others, costs the drug plan more than $160 million annually. ...more

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