In an effort to save millions in drug costs, nine provinces and all three territories are working together to bulk buy six of the highest-selling generic drugs.

Under the plan, the drugs would be purchased at 18 per cent of their brand-name counterparts, compared to the current 25 to 40 per cent.

Roughly 20 per cent of the publicly funded spending on generic drugs goes towards the six drugs.

They are:

  • Atorvastatin -- used to treat high cholesterol;
  • Ramipril -- used to treat blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions;
  • Venlafaxine -- used to treat depression and other mental health conditions;
  • Amlodipine -- used to treat high blood pressure and angina;
  • Omeprazole -- used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions; and
  • Rabeprazole -- used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions

The new prices would be effective April 1.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on Friday told CTV’s Power Play that Canadians might not see the price different right away due to “dispensing fees and other costs.”

The plan came out of a meeting between premiers and the Health Care Innovation Working Group, made up of provincial and territorial ministers of health and led by Wall and Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz.

Provincial and territorial drug plan officials met with representatives of drug companies, pharmacies, insurance companies, members of the public and other stakeholders to hear their views.

“I am pleased our officials had the opportunity to meet with interested parties to better inform our decision. We…ultimately made our decision based on what we felt would achieve the best value for Canadians in a timely manner,” Ghiz said in a statement. “We look forward to further discussions with industry and interested parties as we move ahead to explore a broader long-term approach.”

The only province not participating is Quebec.

“This is a start,” Wall said. “Premier Ghiz and I would like to see more happen.”