Nova Scotia plan to lower prescription pricing a step in the right direction: Health Council of Canada

TORONTO, September 24, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Health Council of Canada applauds the Nova Scotia Department of Health for their steps towards ensuring low drug prices in their province. The plan includes meeting with groups, such as community pharmacies, doctors, medical staff at health authorities, senior groups and drug manufacturers for input on how to lower prices for prescription drugs and contain drug costs.

In a recent report, Generic Drug Pricing and Access in Canada: What are the Implications?, the Health Council of Canada stated that the goal of any drug-policy reform should be to create an environment that addresses the needs of patients at an affordable cost that can be sustained over the long term.

"This initiative is a step in the right direction to ensure that the people of Nova Scotia can afford the prescription drugs they need. It will also help to ensure that drugs programs are affordable and sustainable into the future," said John G. Abbott, CEO of the Health Council of Canada.

Nova Scotia's plan outlines five measures that are being considered to lower prescription drugs prices: Set generic drug prices, limit pharmacy rebates, tender for one or more drugs, establish rules around price increase, and define the price paid to pharmacies for drugs.

These measures are in line with the strategy recommended by the Health Council of Canada in their generics report, which included six critical success factors:

Effective pricing strategies;

...Appropriate and efficient use of generics;
...Alternative drug-distribution channels;
...Diverse offering of pharmacy services;
...High consumer involvement; and
...Optimal government involvement.

"Prescription drugs must be affordable and accessible to all Canadians," said Abbott. "It is possible, if governments take the steps we outlined in our report."

About the Health Council of Canada

Created by the 2003 First Ministers' Accord on Health Care Renewal, the Health Council of Canada is an independent national agency that reports on the progress of health care renewal in Canada. The Council provides a system-wide perspective on health care reform in Canada, and disseminates information on best practices and innovation across the country. The Councillors are appointed by the participating provincial and territorial governments and the Government of Canada.

To download reports and other Health Council materials, visit