Canada's life and health insurers support provinces' plan to lower prices on generic drugs

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian life and health insurance industry enthusiastically supports today's announcement by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz that Canada's provinces will be reducing the maximum price for six of the most common generic drugs to 18 per cent of the equivalent brand-name drug.

The industry is particularly pleased that the provinces' approach to lowering generic prices will apply equally to all. This means that all Canadians will benefit regardless of whether they are reimbursed for their drugs costs from a provincial plan or a private employer plan; or pay for their drugs out of their own pocket.

"Keeping the cost of prescription drugs at manageable levels is critically important to not only public plans, but also to Canada's employers that sponsor private plans and their employees," noted Frank Swedlove, president of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA). "By ensuring lower drug prices for all, the governments' initiative announced today contributes in a meaningful way to dealing with the rising cost of health care in Canada."

Canada's life and health insurers provided reimbursements for prescription drug costs of over $10 billion to some 23 million Canadians in 2011. Prescription drugs purchased privately account for 55 per cent of the total drugs purchased in Canada.

About the CLHIA

The CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business. The industry is the principal provider in Canada of individual and group supplementary health benefit products and services and plays a significant role in wellness, disease prevention and in supporting recovery.

SOURCE: Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

For further information:

Wendy Hope, Vice President, External Relations (613) 230-0031 or
Stephen Frank, Vice President, Policy Development and Health (416) 359-2965