The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association is urging Quebec to abandon its plan to issue tenders for generic drugs.

The provincial government’s plan represents a risky tendering scheme that could have negative repercussions for the pharmaceutical industry by threatening the supply of generic drugs and indirectly harming the economy, according to a statement by association president Jim Keon.

Read: Quebec move on drug bids ‘one to watch’ as private plans expected to benefit

“By limiting the number of suppliers for a given product, tendering increases the risk of drug shortages and could lead to higher prices in the long term as manufacturers are forced out of the market.

“This pricing mechanism could also have significant unintended consequences on Quebec’s generic pharmaceutical industry, a driving force behind the province’s life sciences industry with 4,100 direct jobs, a direct economic impact of $769 million and a significant contribution to Quebec’s trade balance as 40 percent of local production is exported to other markets.”

Read: Pharmacies touted as key partner for managing drug plans

The comments follow a report in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday that the Quebec government will centralize drug purchases under one bid for any generic drug that has at least three competing manufacturers. The chosen provider will receive a three-year exclusive contract with the government. Quebec is the first province to institute a bidding system for generic drugs at such a large scale.

While proponents tout the potential cost savings for both the government and other payers, the CGPA argues the tendering strategy will remove any incentive for manufacturers to wade through Canada’s complex intellectual property requirements for pharmaceuticals and will weaken competition in the market.

The statement also noted the CGPA had provided the provincial government with a proposal last June that aimed to save $1.5 billion over five years through price discounts on the top generic drugs and the launch of new and cheaper products.

“We believe that a negotiated agreement with the government of Quebec is still achievable,” said Keon. “We are therefore calling on the government of Quebec to abandon this risky path and negotiate a sustainable agreement.”

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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