Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reforms not to blame for drug shortages: group

From CBC News:
Recent changes to provincial drug plans are not to blame for significant medication shortages, the Canadian generic drug industry says.

Pharmacists in New Brunswick say they have been struggling to find alternatives to fill prescriptions, substituting products when items are not available.

"Certain manufacturers don't seem to be able to supply the product right now," said Donna Chauvin, a Fredericton pharmacist. "We're noticing we have to switch strengths of one drug for another."

The head of the provincial pharmacists' association said pharmacists have speculated that reforms in other provinces are to blame for the shortages.

"It's not out of the question for a manufacturer to decide, 'You know what, we're going to sell every molecule we make this year. Maybe we make sure those products make their way into more profitable markets,'" said Paul Blanchard, executive director for the New Brunswick Pharmacists' Association.

Ontario decided in June that generic drug prices will be cut to 25 per cent of the price of patented drugs, down from 50 per cent. In July, British Columbia decided to drop the cost of generic drugs from 65 per cent of the brand name cost to 35 per cent. Alberta and Quebec reached similar cost-cutting deals with the drug industry recently. ...more

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