UPDATE 3-Canada provinces set strict caps on generic drug prices
* Research found unusually high generic prices in Canada
* Regulatory crackdown has hit pharmacy growth
* Premier behind the initiative says it's just the beginning (Adds reaction from industry group)
By Allison Martell
TORONTO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Canada's provinces and territories have agreed to tighter caps on the prices of six of the most widely prescribed generic drugs, and that's just the beginning of a coordinated effort to hold down costs, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said on Friday.
Aiming to cut high cost of generics for private and government health programs in Canada, the jurisdictions will allow drugstores to charge no more than 18 percent of the price of the brand-name equivalent.
"This is a start. There's a lot more work that can be done on generics," Wall, the Prairie province's top elected official, said in an interview with Reuters.
The new price restrictions - set by an interprovincial policy group that Wall leads with Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz - are likely to ratchet up pressure on Shoppers Drug Mart Corp and other big chains.
Canadian pharmacies are already feeling the impact of efforts by individual provinces to cut generic drug prices. Shoppers Drug stock dropped 5 percent on Friday afternoon. Continued...