CACDS: Alberta Government's Cuts to Generic Medicines and Pharmacy Services Another Broken Promise

TORONTO, March 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Denise Carpenter, President of the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores (CACDS) questioned the timing and content of the cuts to the reimbursed prices of generics drugs announced by the Government of Alberta in its March 7, 2013 budget.

"Over the past several years, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores has been engaging the Alberta government to develop a smarter solution for the provision of pharmacy services in Alberta.  It is not clear to us why the government has chosen to legislate halving of generic drug prices without first implementing the solutions proposed by our Association, our members' companies and our pharmacists, which have potential to deliver even greater savings without jeopardizing our ability to provide value-added patients services." Carpenter noted.

Carpenter noted that Canada's community pharmacies support the efforts by governments to balance their budgets and have demonstrated our willingness to help governments find responsible ways to deliver savings while protecting the delivery of health care services.   Along with partners in manufacturing, pharmaceutical distribution, and community pharmacists, CACDS has been working with provincial and territorial governments to develop proposals that would provide significant savings to Canada's health care system now and well into the future.

Alberta, as co-lead of a pan-Canadian process to achieve efficiencies and savings, had been working for some time with CACDS and its partners on patient-friendly cost savings.

"Our estimates put immediate potential savings in hundreds of millions and longer term savings in the billions." Carpenter noted.  "We were working with them.  That's why we were shocked when the Alberta government blind-sided broader pharmacy by unilaterally cutting generic drug prices by 50%."

Governments across Canada must recognize that drug costs cannot be viewed in a vacuum.  Our patient care model has historically linked drug costs to the delivery of pharmacy services. The viability of pharmacy services is under attack, and now services are being put at risk.

By keeping patients healthier and preventing the need for more costly forms of care, pharmacy lowers costs across the board. To arbitrarily cut community pharmacy is to see other costs—even greater costs—pop up in other places.

"As health care providers, we call on the Government of Alberta to abandon its decision to unilaterally reduce generic prices by 50% and, instead, work with us to design and implement a program that protects and supports pharmacy services, while responsibly lowering drug costs," Carpenter concluded.

Canada's community pharmacies, and our partners in the supply chain, have no doubt the Government of Alberta wants to do the right thing; however this course of action doesn't guarantee they will do things right. We are asking the government to return to multi-stakeholder initiatives that will improve access to affordable health care, now and in the future.

The number one priority for Canada's community pharmacies continues to be enhancing patient care and protecting the accessibility and unmatched availability of pharmacy services through our community outlets."

SOURCE: Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores

For further information:

To arrange an interview, please contact:
S. Feldman
Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores
T: (647) 837-1403
C:  (416) 455-4035
Email: sfeldman@cacds.com

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Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores

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