BC Introduces Legislation to Reduce Drug Costs
The Ministry of Health Services for British Columbia on Tuesday introduced Bill 35, the Pharmaceuticals Act, into law. Utilized to provide one of the most comprehensive public drug plans in Canada as well as the ability to regulate and lower prescription drug prices, Bill 35 protects BC’s PharmaCare and offers low cost prescriptions to citizens.
“The cost and accessibility of pharmaceutical drugs is an area of great concern to patients, health professionals, governments and the public. We will continue to stand up for PharmaCare, patients and families,” said Minister of Health, Michael de Jong.
Through April 2nd, British Columbia was seeing the price of generic drugs to cost approximately 35 per cent of brand name price. Through this legislation, B.C. is hoping to reduce those prices to a lower percentage for all B.C. patients, which will save monetarily on the cost of prescription drugs in 2012.
The Ministry of Health, although introducing the bill yesterday, expects regulations related to drug costs to be drafted throughout the summer. This process will involved consulting stakeholders as well as others.
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Another side to the act is its legislative protection of the $1-billion PharmaCare program. Provided to British Columbians to help with the cost of eligible prescription drugs and medical supplies, PharmaCare provides access to drug therapy through seven different drug plans.
“This government is committed to protecting PharmaCare and keeping drugs available and affordable to the public,” said Minister de Jong.