Some of the most commonly-prescribed medications in Canada just dropped in price


WATCH: The cost of many medications in Canada has just dropped substantially but not everyone is cheering. April Lawrence reports.

If you’re filling a prescription you may notice the price has dropped. As of April 1, 2018 the cost of 68 generic drugs in Canada has been cut by 25 to 40 per cent.

“They are ranging anywhere from high blood pressure molecules, high cholesterol medications, diabetic medications, they are quite life-saving medications used on a continuous basis,” said pharmacist and owner of JC Pharmacy Chandra Erant.

For example, the price of antipsychotic drug olanzapine drops from $137 to $76, diabetes medication metformin goes from $23 to $13 and nerve pain drug gabapentin drops from $19 to $10.

The drugs impacted are some of the most commonly-prescribed in the country and Erant says it means the generic drug in some cases will now be 10 per cent of the cost of the comparable brand name.

While it’s great news for anyone who pays for prescriptions, pharmacies will be bringing in less profit, and that can have a substantial impact on small, independent businesses like Erant’s.

“I have to find creative ways of making sure I am earning sufficient enough to pay my salaries and my rent and my expenses,” he said. “It will be [a] very challenging situation, it happened before but not up to this magnitude,” he said, noting a price drop in 2010.

Erant adds that when the price drop came into effect April 1st the value of the stock on his shelves dropped $20,000.

He says he wouldn’t be surprised if you start seeing independent pharmacies shut down in the months and years ahead.

“We are sure we’ll be able to deal with it but it will be quite a tough road ahead,” he said.

The generic drug industry deal is in place for the next five years and is expected to save public drug plans in Canada up to $3 billion over that time.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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