Ontario upped the ante in its battle with pharmacies Friday by asking to appeal a court ruling that allowed big drugstore chains to launch their own private-label generic prescription drugs.

Challenging the ruling is a step the governing Liberals must take in order to keep Ontario drug costs down, said Health Minister Deb Matthews.

“Private labelling does not benefit Ontarians and that’s why … I am continuing to stand on the side of Ontario taxpayers and patients,” she said in a statement.

“I know it’s the right thing to do.”

The legal fight erupted after the province enacted regulations July 1 that stopped pharmacies like Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC) and Katz Group — owner of the Rexall and PharmaPlus chains — from selling their own lower-priced versions in place of popular name-brand drugs.  Read More…


  1. Does anyone on this site have any clue what they are talking about? You could all pass for Liberal MPP’s. Private labelling has no impact on the price you pay because THE GOVERNMENT SETS THE PRICE OF THE DRUG IN THIS PROVINCE. So it doesn’t matter to Joe Public if it is Apotex, Teva, Mylan, Pharmascience or Sanis (Shoppers private label), the price is the same because the government has legislated the price to be 25% of the equivalent brand name drug. So no, pharmacies can not charge whatever they want. Anyone who has any clue about how the industry works (which judging by her comments Deb Matthews consistently proves that she doesn’t) realizes that if the government chooses to appeal it will cost the taxpayers money because even if she wins (she won’t) the price will still be 25% of brand like it is today.

  2. Deb Mathews (Ontario Health Minister) sees right through this game of private labeling.

    When these private chains can make their own brands who is to say they wont trash other brands and have a complete monopoly in the market. And worse they will continue to put bad/worthless ingredients as substitutes all at a higher price!

    No thank you!

  3. I kind of like the ideal of private labeling because it would be more convenient for someone like me to walk over to PharmaPlus and get a generic for a cheaper price. I don’t see the harm in that.

  4. Good to see the Liberal Party fighting for a change

  5. If they are allowed this is just one step closer to being just like American Big Pharma where money talks and the consumer is toast!

  6. I am not holding my breath that they will ever..i mean EVER will pass those savings to their customers. It wouldn’t make much sense seeing as how they can just pocket the entire thing.

  7. Of course SDM and the others are fighting this. It is a lot of profit lost each year.

  8. I feel sorry for my sister who is a resident American citizen (married an american husband) because she now has to deal with the American healthcare system where drugs are not allowed ot be imported and prices are incredibly expensive — no competition is allowed.

    Many would be hardrpessed to understand what exactly the sweeping healthcare reform was all about seeing as how nothing has really changed for the better for them.

    So thank goodness we are fighting about these things here in Canada.

  9. Score one for Liberals in still fighting for the Canadian tax payers.

  10. @gord, and yet when you look at drug prices outside ontario the prices are not any cheaper. So logic still stands — having private labels is not a good thing.

  11. @giddy21, actually it will potentially raise prices because if these pharmacies had it in their way they would remove all the other drugs from their shelves and just have their own private-labels. With only one brand they can charge whatever they want.

    Yes they would be using generic ingredients and would actually be cheaper but they would have no incentive to bring the cost down since they are the only drug in town on their shelf.

  12. Maybe i am missing something but i thought more competition leads to lower prices?

    From what i am reading people like Shopper Drug Mart want to add competition by way of adding their generic private-labels on their shelves too. How is this not a good thing for consumers? (scratching my head)

  13. I find it interesting that Ontario is one of the few provinces that is still debating this.

    Everyone else has allowed private-labelling.

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