MONTREAL, QUEBEC – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2013 – New research released today by the Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI) shows that there will be significant cost to the Ministry of Health and Social Services from a misguided policy announced by Minister Hébert last March. As of October 1, reimbursement for proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication, used to treat ailments such as GERD and stomach ulcers, will be capped at $0.55 per tablet and several widely-used products are priced higher than this amount.
The CHPI study found that the expected additional health system costs from this policy could reach $49.8M, and could even be as high as $162M. This study compares the Quebec policy to a similar one from British Columbia under which switching caused documented increased health care costs in the largest ever study conducted in Canada on actual consequences for therapeutic substitution in this class of medications.
“With this policy about to begin in October, the government of Quebec could be creating serious problems for patients suffering from digestive disorders,” said Gary Fabian, Executive Director, Gastrointestinal Society. “It could put in jeopardy as many as 200,000 patients who would come up against government-forced medication substitution to avoid paying higher medication costs. The costly new switching that is of concern to us is not the generic substitution component but the part of the policy under which patients will be forced, for economic reasons, to switch to a medication that is not bioequivalent.” Who wants their medication prescribed by a government bureaucrat rather than a doctor?
The Minister’s announcement claims this measure will generate savings but the Gastrointestinal Society contends that the government has not taken into account the additional costs that would result from such a policy. These could include costs related to visits to physicians and emergency rooms, new medical exams, and laboratory analyses. In sum, all the forecasted savings do not take into account the associated collateral costs to the health system and to the individual patients. “We are very concerned that Quebec will suffer economic loss by adopting a short-sighted policy. We must take action now to halt its implementation.”
About the Gastrointestinal Society (GI Society)
As the Canadian leader in providing trusted, evidence-based information on all areas of the gastrointestinal tract, the GI Society is committed to improving the lives of people with GI and liver conditions, supporting research, advocating for appropriate patient access to health care, and promoting gastrointestinal and liver health.
Gail Attara | Chief Executive Officer, Gastrointestinal Society
Phone: 1-866-600-4875 (toll-free)