FREDERICTON (CNB) – The provincial government is asking for input on how to make drugs more affordable and accessible for families.

"New Brunswickers expect that prescription drugs be affordable and that prices paid here be similar to those paid elsewhere," said Health Minister Madeleine Dubé. "We need to ensure that our drug programs are sustainable – now and for the future."

Generic drugs are lower-cost versions of brand-name drugs. They are produced by generic companies once patents expire on brand-name drugs, and they are as safe and effective as the brand-name version.

There is no national price regulation for generic drugs. During the last few years, however, several provinces – including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia – have announced changes in the price of generic drugs.

During the past decade, expenditures for the New Brunswick's Prescription Drug Program have more than doubled – to almost $190 million in 2011-12. In fact, New Brunswickers pay more for generic drugs than people in many other provinces.

As part of the consultation process, New Brunswickers are encouraged to read the document Fair Drug Prices for New Brunswickers, now posted on the department's website. They will also be able to make recommendations by submitting written comments. This consultation will continue until Aug. 15.

During the next few weeks, representatives from Department of Health will meet with stakeholders – including pharmacists, pharmacy owners, drug manufacturers, wholesalers and private insurers – to receive their input on how to get better drug prices for New Brunswickers while supporting pharmacy services.
The information received will be compiled and analyzed by the Department of Health and a recommendation prepared for government.


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