Quebec's Minister of Health Must Abandon Risky Prescription Drug Tendering Scheme and Negotiate Sustainable Solution

MONTREAL, June 28, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement by Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), regarding the Government of Quebec's plan to implement a risky tendering scheme for generic prescription medicines and limit competition among generic drug suppliers in Quebec.

"Over the past several months, CGPA has been engaged with the Government of Quebec regarding proposals that would provide substantial health-care savings to the province and help ensure the ongoing viability of the generic pharmaceutical industry and the continued and future supply of cost-saving generic pharmaceutical products.

In early June 2017, CGPA provided its latest proposal, which would provide to the Government of Quebec its targeted savings of $1.5 billion over the term of a five-year agreement. The proposal includes further price discounts on top-selling generic prescription drugs and additional savings through the launch of new cost-saving generic medicines.

According to the most recent international price comparisons published the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), the additional price discounts for top-selling generic medicines in our latest proposal would mean that prices in Quebec would be at level or below mean international prices. International price levels are important because they represent the levels at which manufacturers are able to sustain a business, bring new products to market and provide jobs and investments.

Instead of accepting these guaranteed savings and negotiating a sustainable agreement, the Government is planning to initiate a risky tendering scheme with unknown savings results that could threaten the current and future supply of cost-saving generic pharmaceutical products and the industry's significant jobs and investments in Quebec.

By limiting the number of suppliers for a given product, tendering increases the risk of drug shortages and could lead to higher prices in the long-term as manufacturers are forced out of the market. This pricing mechanism could also have significant unintended consequences on Quebec's generic pharmaceutical industry, a driving force behind the province's life sciences industry with 4,100 direct jobs, a direct economic impact of $769 million and a significant contribution to Quebec's trade balance as 40 percent of local production is exported to other markets.

In addition, due to Canada's complex intellectual property regime for pharmaceuticals, pricing mechanisms such as tendering also remove the incentive for generic pharmaceutical manufacturers to challenge weak and frivolous patents and bring new cost-saving generic prescription medicines to market. The second-largest generic drug market in Canada is set to implement such a scheme just as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union is set to come into force, which will block cost-saving generic medicines from coming to market by up to an additional two years.

CGPA's latest proposal represents a "win-win" situation for both the Government of Quebec and the generic pharmaceutical industry. The proposal offered significant savings to the Quebec health-care system and a more stable and predictable business environment for generic pharmaceutical manufacturers to continue to provide cost-saving prescription medicines as well as jobs and investment.

We believe that a negotiated agreement with the Government of Quebec is still achievable. We are therefore calling on the Government of Quebec to abandon this risky path and negotiate a sustainable agreement."

About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents Canada's generic pharmaceutical industry. The industry plays an important role in controlling health-care costs in Quebec and Canada. Generic drugs are dispensed to fill 73 percent of all prescriptions but account for only 22 percent of the $6.5-billion spent annually on prescription medicines in Quebec.

 

SOURCE CANADIAN GENERIC PHARMACEUTICAL ASSOCIATION

For further information: Jeff Connell, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), Tel: (416) 223-2333, Mobile: (647) 274-3379, Email: jeff@canadiangenerics.ca, Website: www.canadiangenerics.ca

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