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Discounts on generic medicines : the CLHIA remains in the dark


Denis Méthot

19 December 2017 09:45

Lyne Duhaime | Photo : Denis Méthot

L’Association canadienne des compagnies d’assurances de personnes (CLHIA) remains in the dark about the intentions of the government vis-à-vis the insured persons of the private and of their application to reduce the costs of generic drugs. Despite the commitment of the minister Gaétan Barrette, the CLHIA is still not known how and at what height they will benefit from the price reductions obtained by the ministry of Health (MSSS).

When the parliamentary commission devoted to the draft law, 148 designed to manage the supply of generic drugs of the pharmacist-owners, the minister Barrette had been sympathetic to the requests of the CPOMA. The latter had claimed that the insured persons of the private benefit of the discount negotiated by the government in the summer of 2017 with the manufacturers of generic drugs.

The CLHIA said he was however aware that this issue will not be included in the government’s decision to adopt the draft law, 148. The organization had taken advantage of this forum to make their arguments as to the costs that insurers pay for to pay for generic drugs.

The discount will apply, says the government

However, no intention or provision to this effect does not appear in the text of the draft law which was adopted on 23 November, but which had not yet assented to 28 November. The ministry of Health has confirmed to the Newspaper of the assurance that the discount obtained by the government from the generic manufacturers would apply to the insured persons of the private.

«The price cuts to the List of drugs that will result from the agreement with thecanadian generic pharmaceutical Association, once made public, will apply to both the public plan to private plans. But there is no provision in the PL 148 to this effect, » stated Marie-Claude Lacasse, press secretary at the DHSS, in an e-mail sent to the Journal of the insurance.

In the face of uncertainty

Lyne Duhaime, CEO ofCLHIA Quebec however had not had that confirmation and remained in the uncertainty. «We are still waiting, she commented in an interview. We thought it might be of the measures adopted by legislative or regulatory. When we saw the filing of the act 148, we have realized that we did not have more information on the agreement entered into by the department with the Association of the generic drug. We are always at the same point. The minister announced very significant cost savings over five years. Private payers pay more than half of all drugs paid under the prescription drug insurance plan. So, we hope that they will receive the same proportion of the savings obtained by the minister Barrette «.

The CEO of CPOMA-Québec stated that it understood that it was not necessarily possible to realize the appropriate changes in the draft law, 148. His body is still waiting for answers and a clear explanation of its applications. «At this point, neither I, nor has anyone in my industry don’t understand how we’re going to benefit from the negotiated discounts,» she pointed out.

It is possible that the price of generic drugs on the List more low, and that the private benefits from it, » said Ms. Duhaime. «We don’t know yet. To know if we will have possibly a fair share of our savings, we have no way to check it out as this agreement remains confidential. It may be noted at some point that the price of some drugs has declined, but there will be no way to know if we got our fair share of the savings negotiated by the government «.

Not the first agreement of its kind

The agreement between the ministry of Health and manufacturers of generic is not the first of its kind. There are others, but they are also confidential and the CLHIA does not take advantage of the savings that they bring about, a situation that denounces Lyne Duhaime.

«All Quebecers, whether they are insured privately or to the public, should benefit from the agreements signed by the government with manufacturers of drugs, she repeats. The minister has said publicly that we will benefit from the agreement with the generic manufacturers, but the problem is how to : what is mechanical, what is our action to knowledge, we do not know. It is very opaque. Unfortunately, this is not something that can be adjusted with a telephone call or a meeting. We will continue to attempt to gain access to negotiations and discounts obtained for a matter of fairness between the insured persons of the private and the public. «

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