Pharma Legislative Update June 2013

#399

PDF Version

The following details summarize recent legislative changes related to drug pricing announced by the New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec governments.  Please share these updates with your plan members as appropriate.

New Brunswick Generic Drug Reform

The New Brunswick government in their recent budget announced the following generic drug pricing changes:

  • Effective June 1, 2013, there was a reduction from 35% to 25% on the reimbursement prices of solid oral dosage from generic drugs of the equivalent brand-name. Similar to Ontario and British Columbia, prices of non-solids will be set at 35%. The NB government has also announced that there will be exceptions put in place for this change.

Newfoundland and Labrador Generic Drug Reform

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in their recent budget announced the following generic drug pricing changes:

  • Effective July 1, 2013, the Government will be reducing the cost of generic drugs to 25% of the equivalent brand-name.  Please note that in an earlier Focus Update #390 (May 16, 2013), we communicated the pan-Canadian generic pricing update, where provinces and territories agreed to decrease the cost of the top six generics to 18% of brand, effective April 1.  This most recent announcement from the government of Newfoundland and Labrador excludes these top six generics (which will continue to be priced at 18% of brand).

Alberta Pharmaceutical Strategy –  Update  on Generic Pricing

As previously announced in Focus update #390 (May 16, 2013), Alberta reduced the price of the top six generic drugs to 18% of the brand named drugs. 

Since that announcement, the province has released further details.  The AB government's new 18% price demand is targeted at the 2,804 "interchangeable" drugs, communicating to suppliers the price the province is prepared to pay as of May 1, 2013.  However, drug companies are not bound by the province's demand, and instead can submit prices at a variety of rates.  If the government and a supplier cannot agree on a price, the province can either grant an exemption, or it can stop covering the drug.  Provincial policy is that no drug is delisted unless an alternate supply is available.

Saskatchewan Dispensing Fees

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health recently announced the successful completion of negotiations between the Pharmacists’ Association of Saskatchewan (PAS) and The Drug Plan and Extended Benefits Branch (DPEBB).  On May 1, 2013, the dispensing fee increased from $10.25 to $10.75.  Our systems were updated accordingly to reflect this dispensing fee change.

Quebec Smoking Cessation Aids Maximum

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Quebec (RAMQ) recently announced that it will be reducing the maximum amount for smoking cessation aids and products to $700 for the 2014 calendar year. This decrease takes into consideration current drug therapies and reflects the reduction in cost for these products.

Questions?

Contact your Sun Life Financial group benefits representative.