Reports: Alberta government to give pharmacists allowance in preparation for generic pricing changes

Government spending $24 million on one-year transition program

NEW YORK — The government of Canada's Alberta province will pay pharmacists C$1 for each prescription filled as part of a one-year transition program for which it will spend $24 million, according to published reports.

The Calgary, Alberta, Herald reported Wednesday that the program was designed to help pharmacists transition to a new business model. The newspaper also reported that provincial health minister Fred Horne said the province was "committed" to offering generic drugs to residents of the province for 18% of the cost of branded drugs, but that pharmacists had historically objected to efforts to lower generic drug prices.

Under provincial regulations, pharmacies buy drugs at a price, capped by the government, that suppliers can charge. Pharmacists are then reimbursed for the cost when prescriptions are filled and can charge the government a dispensing fee of $10.93 per prescription.

At the same time, many pharmacists have arranged volume deals, but the Herald reported that they said such deals, which provide an additional source of income, were under threat due to lowering of generic drug prices. The government plans to pay the current price for generic drugs until the end of May, the newspaper reported.

C$1 = 99 U.S. cents.

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