Life and health insurance industry welcomes B.C.'s move towards lower pricing
for generic drugs

TORONTO, July 9 /CNW/ - The Canadian life and health insurance industry welcomes the announcement by the B.C. government that it will be reducing the cost of generic drugs for British Columbians, and that the price structure will be the same for all B.C. residents whether they are covered by the government plan, a private insurance plan or paying out of their own pockets. "Lower generic drug prices across the full spectrum will mean that B.C. employers and unions will be able to continue to afford to provide health benefits to their workers and their families," says Frank Swedlove, President of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. "This also represents significant progress in dealing with the high cost of generic drugs in Canada," he added.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry is responsible for the majority of Canada's private drug insurance plans, covering over 2.7 million British Columbian workers and paying out some $2.2 billion for medical, hospital, dental and drug benefits in 2008. These plans are predominantly group plans purchased on a voluntary basis by employers, unions, professional organizations or other affinity groups and are designed to complement the public health system. They provide financial resources for health services that are not covered, or not fully covered, by public health care and therefore play an important role in reducing financial pressures on the public system. Prescription drugs represent 60 to 80 per cent of the costs of supplementary benefit plans.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry provides a wide range of financial security products including life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to about 26 million Canadians and their dependants. Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business.

SOURCE Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

For further information: For further information: Media enquiries: Wendy Hope, Vice President, External Relations, (416) 777-2221 or (416) 565-1853; Irene Klatt, Vice President, Health Insurance, (416) 359-2023

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