Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sask. pharmacy rebates could top $30M, health officials say

From CBC News:
The province's prescription drug plan is estimated to cost taxpayers about $313 million this year, according to the provincial budget. (CBC)The Saskatchewan government is keeping a wary eye on the manufacturers' drug rebates being paid to pharmacies — an estimated $30 million to $40 million a year.

According to Health Ministry officials, the money — which the makers of generic prescription drugs routinely pay to pharmacy companies — should be going toward reducing the overall drug bill for taxpayers.

There are about 350 pharmacies in the province, so $35-million worth of rebates would work out to an average of $100,000 for each one.

For years, the province has liked generic drugs, because they're cheaper than their brand-name equivalents — and keeping drugs costs under control has been a priority.

Kevin Wilson, the executive director of the Health Ministry's drug plan branch, says the impact of rebates on drug costs is a problem the government is just trying to get a handle on now.

"It's more challenging as this has started to come to light," he said. "Our focus would be to focus on getting the lowest reimbursement price on generic drugs … and at the same time providing fair compensation to pharmacists." ...more

No comments: