7/19/10

Generic drug prices to drop



For years, credible online pharmacies have charged too much for generic medications. Generics are copycat versions of brand-name drugs, allowed once patents expire. They're clinically identical, but much cheaper to produce. Clinically, there is no difference!

No one outside the industry knows the precise manufacturing cost. Generic drugs online are cheaper than their brand name equivalents because the manufacturers do not have the research and development costs associated with bringing new drugs to the market.

What we have is access to brand name as well as generic over-the-counter medication with choice for patients and competition between manufacturers, which brings prices down.

Manufacturers determine what to charge for generic drugs and governments set the prices they will pay for publicly funded medications.


Under the deal, the cost of generic prescription drugs will drop from 65 per cent of the brand name cost to 35 per cent.
Studies suggest a fair estimate would be 35 per cent or less of the brand-name equivalent. Yet pharmacies have been collaborating with manufacturers to charge 65 per cent of the patent-protected medications' prices.

The government's clean-up of generic online pharmaceuticals is an excellent start.
The drop started from Canada. "By requiring the generic drug industry to reduce its excessive prices, the government is doing its job to ensure the sustainability of Quebec's Prescription Drug Insurance Plan," stated Rx&D president Russell Williams, noting that the generic drugs sold in Canada are among the most expensive in the world.

British Columbia is joining Ontario in cracking down on the rising cost of generic prescription drugs. But the province is avoiding the kind of highly public fight Ontario’s government had with the country’s largest drug store chains by offsetting lower revenue with new funding to expand pharmacy services, sources say.

British Columbia spends more than $900 million annually on prescription drugs through its PharmaCare program, The Globe and Mail said. Generic drugs are capturing a greater percentage of that amount, totaling $286 million in fiscal year 2008-09.

The B.C. government will announce on Friday that it will cut the price of generic drugs by reducing rebates manufacturers pay to pharmacies in return for selling their products, industry sources familiar with the plan said. Unlike Ontario, British Columbia will not abolish the rebates altogether, the sources said.

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