first_imgGovernment made a commitment to make life better for families. Getting fair drug prices for Nova Scotians is part of the plan. Nova Scotians are paying too much for prescription drugs. The current drug pricing system results in prices that are too high for those who need our help most — seniors, families, individuals enrolled in our Pharmacare programs. As Health Minister, it surprised me to learn that Nova Scotians are paying more for their generic drugs than most developed countries and some other provinces. Let me share several examples. Through our Seniors Pharmacare, seniors pay $82.36 for a one-year prescription of the generic version of Fosamax (70 mg), called alendronate, a drug prescribed to treat osteoporosis. If Nova Scotia adopted British Columbia’s new drug strategy, the same person would pay $64.44. People enrolled in the Family Pharmacare plan taking the generic version of Lipitor, commonly used to treat high cholesterol, pay $84.88 for a one-year prescription. Using Ontario’s pricing strategy, Nova Scotians in Family Pharmacare would pay $46.68. Even though we are making positive changes by offering more generic drugs in Nova Scotia, we believe the price we pay for most generic drugs is still too high. We must do better for our families and for taxpayers who expect us to use every health care dollar to its maximum effect. In the past eight years, government has doubled the amount spent on our Pharmacare programs. Last year in Nova Scotia, the programs funded over 6,000 drugs and helped more than 200,000 people pay for their drugs. That cost $285 million. The time has come for Nova Scotia to change our drug pricing system to get a better deal for today’s families. We have carefully studied what is happening across Canada where efforts are being made in a variety of ways to reduce drug costs and help consumers. Other provinces have moved to get fair drug prices and so will we. We have begun a thorough consultation process with pharmacists, pharmacy owners, doctors, drug manufacturers, seniors and other interested groups to develop a made in Nova Scotia approach to get a better deal on drug prices. As well, we have issued a Request for Proposal for one drug, atorvastatin, the generic form of Lipitor. It accounts for the largest part of spending through Pharmacare and we want to take this interim measure immediately to help those Nova Scotians enrolled in our Pharmacare programs who take this drug. For more information and to comment please visit our website www.gov.ns.ca/health/fairdrugprices . -30-last_img


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