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Quebec hopes to save millions by tendering for generics Posted 07/07/2017

The Health Ministry in Quebec, Canada is launching a tender process for generics in an attempt to save millions of dollars. It is hoped that the new system will make medication cheaper for patients and save taxpayers CA$300 million per year.

Until now in Canada, pharmaceutical companies have supplied generic drugs directly to pharmacies. This has given them access to a wide range of different branded generics. But as of now in Quebec, companies will have to make competitive bids via the province’s centralized tendering process. The first call for tenders was launched on 29 June 2017.

These are not the only cost-cutting measures being put into practice in the province. In June 2017, the provincial government adopted legislation giving it the power to reduce prices. Quebec has also announced that mandatory price drops would come into effect in the coming months.

Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said that Canada was ‘paying too much for generic drugs’ and that ‘a call for tender causes prices to fall’. In fact, a report issued in December 2014 by Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) found that, although the prices of generics in Canada had decreased significantly in recent years, Canadians are still paying more for their generics than patients in many other countries [1].

Pharmacists are worried about the move by the provincial government. Bertrand Bolduc, President of the Quebec Order of Pharmacists, said that ‘limiting the amount of brands on the market could cause stock shortages’. He also expressed concern that ‘differences in the drugs, such as the colour of a pill, could affect patients’.

Related article
Canadians pay almost twice as much as Americans for generics

Reference
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Generics still cost more in Canada, but prices decreasing [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2017 Jul 7]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/Generics-still-cost-more-in-Canada-but-prices-decreasing

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Source: CBC, Globe and Mail

Comments (2)

Response to ‘Quebec and tenders’ posted 13/07/2017 - by Louis B, GaBI Online Editorial Office

Thank you for your valuable comments and insight received on 7 July 2017. We appreciate very much your kind feedback, and please continue with your valuable comments to GaBI Online.

Quebec and tenders posted 10/07/2017 - by Dr Malcolm Ross

The comment that patients will be confused by the color/shape of generics is frankly absurd unless Canadians are very different from US, UK and many EU countries where generic substitution exists. The real danger of tendering is to produce an unsustainable generics industry which is what is happening in Germany and the Netherlands.