The premiers of Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island have announced that provinces and territories are teaming up to lower the cost of some generic drugs.

Participating governments will use their combined purchasing power to set a price for six generic drugs that is equivalent to 18 per cent of brand name prices.

Currently, provinces and territories pay between 25 and 40 per cent of brand name prices for the drugs, which represent 20 per cent of government spending on generic brands in Canada.

The Saskatchewan government says the price-setting initiative will result in estimated annual savings of about $10 million in the province alone.

The generic drugs include:

• Atorvastatin – used to treat high cholesterol

• Ramipril – used to treat blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions

• Venlafaxine – used to treat depression and other mental health conditions

• Amlodipine – used to treat high blood pressure and angina

• Omeprazole – used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions

• Rabeprazole – used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions

“Saskatchewan is pleased to collaborate with other provinces and territories to realize significant cost savings on important drugs that patients rely on,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said in a news release.

“By working together, we can do more to bend the cost curve.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz made the announcement Friday through the Council of the Federation.

The two premiers led the Health Care Innovation Working Group, which recommended action on generic drug prices last summer.

Duncan acknowledged that community pharmacies will be impacted by the initiative. He says the government will work with pharmacies to look at ways to reinvest a portion of the savings into community pharmacy services.

“We look forward to ongoing collaboration with pharmacies and pharmacists to ensure Saskatchewan residents continue to have access to safe, effective and affordable medications and the important services provided by pharmacists in their communities,” Duncan said.

The new prices are to take effect by April 1.