New drug price regulation to benefit B.C. families
Lower generic drug costs
Economy, Families, Health Friday, November 23, 2012 11:00 AM

VANCOUVER - The government of British Columbia is following through on a commitment made earlier this year to lower the cost of generic drugs for B.C. families.

A new drug pricing regulation will come into force on April 1, 2013, reducing the price of generic drugs to 25 per cent of the brand name price immediately, and to 20 per cent as of April 1, 2014. Currently, British Columbians pay 35 per cent of the brand name price for generic drugs.

"B.C. families will soon notice that they pay less at the till when they fill their prescriptions," said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. "Additionally, these price reductions will result in savings to our Government that will help enhance patient care for seniors and families."

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 new 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.

"The ministry's consultation process was a good one and we are glad to see that Minister MacDiarmid heard community pharmacy's concerns about the need to provide a period of transition as they implement pricing changes," said Geraldine Vance, CEO of the BC Pharmacy Association. "We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with government to find ways to achieve cost savings while preserving patient services provided by pharmacists across the province."

"We are supportive of government's work in reducing the price of generic drugs," said Kenneth G. Martin, president and CEO of Pacific Blue Cross. "The new regulation brings B.C. in line with other Canadian jurisdictions and will help ensure fair and consistent pricing for B.C. families."

BC PharmaCare helps British Columbians with the cost of eligible prescription drugs and designated medical supplies. As one of the most comprehensive drug programs in Canada, it provides reasonable access to drug therapy for every British Columbian through several drug plans.

Fair PharmaCare provides British Columbians with assistance with prescription costs. Deductible levels are set to reflect patients' ability to pay. The lowest income earners pay no deductible at all, and those born in or before 1939 receive enhanced assistance.

Under B.C.'s Family Agenda, government is working to make life more affordable for all British Columbians. To learn more, or to share your ideas, visit:

Learn more:

For more information on BC PharmaCare please visit:

A backgrounder follows.

Media Contact:

Ryan Jabs
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)


Examples of savings as a result of the drug price regulation

  • The current cost, not including standard pharmacy fees, of a 30-day prescription of the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor is $55.
  • The price of the generic version of this drug today is 35 per cent of the brand name price, or about $19.
  • Starting April 1, 2013, the price of the generic drug will be reduced to 25 per cent of the brand name price, or $14.
  • On April 1, 2014, the price of the generic drug will be reduced another five per cent to $11.
  • The acid-reducing drug Pariet currently costs $44 for a typical 30-day prescription, not including standard pharmacy fees.
  • Currently, the generic version costs 35 per cent of that amount, or about $15.40.
  • On April 1, 2013 when the price drops to 25 per cent of the brand name, the generic version will be priced at about $11.
  • On April 1, 2014, the price of the generic drug will be reduced to just under $9.

Media Contact:

Ryan Jabs
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

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