Monday, February 09, 2009

Albertans paying more for generic drugs, U of C study says

From the Calgary Herald:
Albertans are paying "very high prices" for generic drugs when compared with prices seen in other countries - a result of provincial policies, a new report from the University of Calgary said.

The research paper, written by U of C professor Aidan Hollis, said current policies across Canadian provinces - not just in Alberta - do a poor job of ensuring low drug prices. Among Hollis's concerns include insurance rules that discourage patients from looking for lower-priced drugs and the lack of incentives for drug companies to introduce other generic drugs to the market to challenge what's already available.

"Thanks to the expected arrival of generic versions of several blockbuster drugs, it appears that generic drugs will be one of the fastest-growing elements of health expenditures in Canada over the next few years," Hollis said in the paper. "Thus, given both the importance of generic drug expenditures and the extensive revision of drug procurement policies in other provinces, the time seems ripe for a review of Alberta’s policies."

The report estimated that 51 per cent of the prescriptions filled in Alberta are generic drugs - at a total cost of $400 million in 2007. In a comparison of the lowest prices available for generic drugs, the report found that consumers in Ontario paid only about 82 per cent of what Albertans paid for a comparable drug. ...more

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