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B.C. families pay less at the pharmacy starting April 1

British Columbians will soon notice they are paying less for many of the generic prescription drugs they need for their health.

Starting April 1, a new drug pricing regulation will reduce the price of generic drugs to 25 per cent of the brand name price, from the current rate of 35 per cent of the brand name price. The price will further drop to 20 per cent in April 2014.

“Thanks to this regulation, B.C. families will pay less at the till when they fill their prescriptions. These price reductions will also save money for the provincial government - money that can be used instead to help enhance patient care in B.C.’s health system,” said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

The drug price regulation is the first in a suite of regulations required to fully implement the Pharmaceutical Services Act, which came into force in May 2012. The act shifts B.C.’s PharmaCare program from relying on government policy, to being protected by legislation.

The regulation allows the Minister of Health to regulate the price of prescription drugs. Generic drugs have the same quality, strength, purity and stability as their brand name equivalents and are made to the same strict standards.

“Reducing the price of generic drugs benefits our clients by making prescription drugs more affordable for families and employer insurance plans,” said Kenneth G. Martin, president and CEO of Pacific Blue Cross.

“We support this regulation, as it brings B.C. in line with other Canadian jurisdictions and helps ensure fair and consistent pricing.”

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