Alberta lowers generic drug costs after talks with pharmacy chains

Alberta is about to make its final cut to generic drug prices in an overhaul designed to save the government $100 million a year.

EDMONTON — Alberta is about to make its final cut to generic drug prices in an overhaul designed to save the government $100 million a year.

Last fall, prices for new generic drugs were slashed by roughly 30 per cent and the government promised a similar reduction for existing generics starting in April.

Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky has been negotiating with pharmacy groups, but the issue has become heated.

Rural pharmacies started complaining this month that the changes to generic drug costs will cut their revenues and cause some outlets to close.

The minister is expected to set the price for existing generics at roughly half the cost of brand-name drugs.

Several other provinces — including Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia — have already adopted similar rates to help reduce health-care budgets.