B.C. health minister says feds to join province’s bulk-buy drug alliance

By The Canadian Press January 19, 2016 11:30 AM

VICTORIA – The federal Liberal government is set to join other Canadian provinces and territories in a bulk-buying drug program that aims to lower the cost of prescription medications.

British Columbia's Health Minister Terry Lake revealed the news and says federal government participation in the program will greatly enhance the purchasing power of the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance.

The announcement which is expected to be confirmed by federal Health Minister Jane Philpott comes as the country's ministers gather in Vancouver this week to discuss issues such as chronic diseases, drug costs and funding formulas.

Lake says Ottawa's participation in the alliance will increase drug purchasing power for provinces, territories and the federal government.

He notes that the federal government administers drug plans for Canada's military, the RCMP and First Nations.

Philpott has already signaled she expects discussions this week to focus primarily on policy issues and transforming a health accord, which provides the provinces and territories with stable funding and sets national standards.