Monday, June 30, 2008

Secret rebates amount to a tax on patients

I usually don't post many opinion pieces, but I thought this one was interesting and worthy of debate. Any comments?

From the Victoria Times Colonist:
The government of British Columbia, in an attempt to save money on its drug purchases, has recently introduced a sole-sourcing strategy in which it receives secret rebates. This strategy is in effect a hidden tax on consumers of those medicines.

The first product for which the government has used this secret-rebate strategy is olanzapine, which is prescribed for various mental disorders including schizophrenia.

Although olanzapine is generically available everywhere else in Canada, the province has struck a deal with Lilly, the manufacturer of the branded version Zyprexa, to make it the only version of olanzapine available in B.C. under PharmaCare. (Virtually everyone in B.C. is a member of PharmaCare, which offers some insurance for drugs, depending on income, age, and total drug expenditure.) ...more

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