Health News For Kitchener–Waterloo–Wellesley–Wilmot–Woolwich

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Statement by Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

The following statement was issued today by Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, following an announcement by the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association:

"The new initiative between the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association - reached after discussions led by the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan - marks a significant milestone in the collaborative work undertaken by provincial and territorial governments to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Canadians.

Starting April 1, the prices for nearly 70 of the most commonly prescribed generic drugs will be discounted by up to 90 per cent off the price of the equivalent brand-name drugs - which more than triples the number of drugs that were discounted under the previous generics initiative. This builds on discounts achieved to date and improves pricing in Canada relative to other countries to ensure we are getting the best value for money. Patients will see these savings when they fill their prescriptions, whether it's through a public drug plan, an employee plan or paying out of pocket.

Over five years, the initiative is expected to generate savings of up to $3 billion for public drug plans. As Canada's most populous province, Ontario stands to benefit significantly from these savings, which will be reinvested in funding new innovative drug therapies and ensuring the sustainability of our public drug plans, including OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare.

With generic drugs currently comprising more than 70 per cent of all prescriptions reimbursed under public drug plans, this initiative is a major step forward in terms of increasing price stability, consistency and predictability. But there is more that can be done.

Canada is the only industrialized country with universal health care, but no national pharmacare strategy. Pharmacare would provide a cohesive, national approach for drug coverage, while increasing affordability for governments and providing equitable access to medications for Canadians. Savings from the pCPA, including the $3 billion in savings from the initiative on generics announced today, show the power of a national approach to approving and purchasing drugs. It also shows that, by working together, we can find the savings that make national pharmacare an affordable and realistic goal.

Ontario is leading the way with OHIP+, which provides young people age 24 and under with access to over 4,400 prescription medications at no cost, regardless of income. We look forward to continuing the conversation with our provincial, territorial and federal partners about how we can move forward in achieving a national pharmacare program that will provide equitable and affordable drug coverage for all Canadians.

We are excited to be part of this initiative, which offers a glimpse of what we can accomplish when governments work together towards a common goal. Through this partnership, we are increasing access to affordable medication so all Canadians can enjoy a healthier future for themselves and their families."

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