NB Health Minister Dorothy Shephard (File Image)

The Higgs government is expanding the use of generic drugs to improve “the sustainability of its public drug plans.” The off brand drugs are produced once the patent for the big known brands expires and cost significantly less.

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says increasing the use of the generic drugs will save over 10 million dollars once fully implemented. And she says “savings from increasing their utilization will be reinvested to support coverage of new therapies and improve patient access to more medications.”

The move follows consultations with physicians and patient advocacy groups. About 3000 people are affected by this change and those on the provincial plans living with diseases such as inflammatory arthritis – inflammatory bowel disease – diabetes – and psoriasis will have until Nov. 30 to switch from an original branded drug to the generic version.

The provincial government spends approximately 220 million dollars to provide subsidized drug coverage for about 135,000 people.

More details on the changes can be found here.