Expertise has a price

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Editorial   |   Friday April 9th, 2010

The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ) applauds the Government of Ontario’s decision to rapidly implement its budget speech statement and reduce the selling price of generic drugs to 25% of that of equivalent brand-name drugs. This measure will produce five hundred million dollars for the Province according to Ontario’s Minister for Health and Long-Term Care, Deb Matthews. “In our campaign Expertise Has a Price, we mention the same measure would generate substantial and recurrent savings of some three hundred million dollars per year thus helping Québec balance its budget,” says Dr. Gaétan Barrette, the Federation’s President.

He adds, “The Minister of Finance said there is a shortfall of slightly more than one billion dollars to balance public finances by 2013-2014. Here’s the answer.”

Québec currently pays 54% of the cost of original drugs for generic drugs, whereas their selling price in Ontario will from now on be set at 25%. Some people are attempting to cloud the issue by blaming the 15-year rule, as set out in the Québec Drug Policy to encourage and stimulate research and development of innovative drugs. “This rule was established to develop a core of excellence and expertise, to attract world-class researchers and corporations in order to place Québec among the top-ranking regions for applied research. Conversely, a generic drug is a copy, easy to produce, at low cost, implying little research and development and requiring little investment,” explained Dr. Barrette.

“Let’s hope the Minister of Health decides to emulate Ontario and does not give in to the very strong pressures that will no doubt be brought to bear by representatives of the generic drug industry. Our healthcare system’s well-being depends on it,” he concluded.


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