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BC to cut generic drug costs by 35 per cent

VANCOUVER - British Columbians will pay 35 per cent less for generic drugs in a deal the government says will save the health-care system millions of dollars.

The agreement between the government, the B.C. Pharmacy Association and Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores is expected to save about $380 million annually.

Health Minister Kevin Falcon says the government was paying too much for the most popular drugs for high blood pressure, heartburn, depression, epilepsy and cholesterol.

The agreement will be phased in over three years, and Falcon says the PharmaCare savings will be redirected to cover the costs of new drugs and provide better services.

The government says the savings will also include B.C. residents if they are covered by PharmaCare, in an employer-union-paid drug plan or for those paying for drugs out-of-pocket.

The province spends over $900 million a year for PharmaCare and generic drugs accounted for almost one third of that last year.

For the latest from The Canadian Press, click here.

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