Study: No pharmacy shortage for Canada

Jan. 20, 2011 at 6:43 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Fears that reducing generic pricing for medications in Ontario could result in pharmacy shortages are unfounded, researchers in Canada say.

Lead author Michael Law, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, says last summer the provincial government in Ontario cut the price of generic drugs by half -- to approximately 25 percent of the equivalent brand -- raising concerns that some pharmacies would have to close as a result of the price cuts.

Law and colleagues analyzed the location of more than 3,300 community pharmacies and census data in Ontario.

The study published in the journal Healthcare Policy finds approximately 64 percent of the Ontario population resides within one city block of a pharmacy, while 85 percent live within a driving distance of 3.2 miles and 91 percent live within a driving distance of 8 miles.

"Even when we simulated a random shutdown of 50 percent of Ontario's community pharmacies, we found that approximately half of the residents would still live within walking distance to a pharmacy and 87 percent of the population would be within driving distance from a pharmacy," Law says in a statement.

"It appears that the effect of closures on geographic access would be quite modest. That is, if the pricing cuts that Ontario introduced have led to any pharmacy closures at all."

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