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PharmaCare deal for seven drugs saves millions, ensures supply

By Contributor
February 27th, 2015

B.C. residents will be getting the best possible price for seven important prescription medications while ensuring drug supply, out of PharmaCare’s open and fair price submission competition process.

Health Minister Terry Lake announced today that B.C.’s PharmaCare program, through its annual price submission process, has confirmed Accel Pharma, Ranbaxy Canada and Septa Pharmaceuticals will be sole suppliers to PharmaCare for seven generic drugs beginning April 1, 2015.

This sole supply arrangement will save PharmaCare more than $2 million a year.

“The Ministry of Health offers some of the best health care in the world while effectively using our health care dollars,” said Lake.

“Through the province’s drug price regulation and our competitive approach, the ministry is putting patients at the centre of care and will continue to seek lower prices for both PharmaCare and its clients, using the money we save to cover more drugs and therapies for British Columbians.”

The single-source arrangements with these companies include assurances regarding drug supply, to ensure there will be enough supplies of these drugs in B.C.

“As B.C.’s largest payer of private drug plans, we support any initiative that seeks lower drug pricing,” said Jan K. Grude, president and CEO of Pacific Blue Cross.

“Since each pharmacy may choose which drug manufacturer is used to fill the patient’s prescription for our plan members, our hope is pharmacies choose to dispense the generic drugs listed by PharmaCare so that our plan members have full access to these cost savings.”

The seven drugs covered under the agreements are:

  • Celecoxib (Accel Pharma) – an anti-inflammatory drug used to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis;
  • Topiramate (Accel Pharma) – an anti-convulsant used to treat epilepsy;
  • Zolmitripan ODT (Septa Pharmaceuticals) – used to treat migraine headaches;
  • Alendronate sodium (Accel Pharma) – used to treat osteoporosis and several other bone diseases;
  • Fluoxetine (Accel Pharma) – an antidepressant used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, and panic disorders.
  • Escitalopram oxalate (Ranbaxy Canada) – an anti-depressant used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder; and
  • Quetiapine fumarate (Accel Pharma) – an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The listing of these drugs means other generic versions of these drugs will not be covered by PharmaCare for a year. Other pharmaceutical companies that will be delisted can submit their products for price competition next year.

The active ingredients in these medications are the same chemicals as those found in the brand-name equivalents, and are just as effective as brand name drugs. Most patients will notice no difference in their medication.

Any PharmaCare client who cannot tolerate the generic versions of these drugs can apply for coverage of the brand name drug through PharmaCare’s special authority process.

The listing of these seven drugs is part of PharmaCare’s annual price submission process. About 40 generic drug companies participate in this process, offering their best prices for the hundreds of generic drugs covered by the PharmaCare program.

Categories: HealthPolitics

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