It’s almost impossible to name a country where healthcare budgets are not stretched. Whilst the attention of media, governments and regulators is often focused on new and innovative medicines, some countries are looking to save money by reducing the spend on generic drugs. In this double-issue article, Pope Woodhead draws on case studies from Canada and Australia to highlight the potential for reducing such costs, with the benefit of redirecting monies to meet other health needs.

In the case of Quebec, for instance, the provincial government is saving an estimated $1.5 billion over five years. Naturally, shifts in regulation and pricing structures need to reflect the nuances of any given market, and price is not the only driver of value. Efforts should therefore continue to improve generic drug manufacture, and ensure high standards of drug prescription by clinicians and adherence by patients. Collaboration between all stakeholders is vital, and while cutting costs on generic drugs is not a panacea, it does warrant closer examination from all providers, not least those in Europe and the NHS in the UK.

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