08/30/2012 03:20 EDT | Updated 10/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Supreme Court to hear Ont. generic drug case

Canada's highest court has agreed to hear two cases that challenge the Ontario government's recent change to the laws that govern the way pharmacies sell private-label generic drugs.

The Supreme Court of Canada will consider the cases brought forward by two of Canada's largest pharmaceutical chains, Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall, who contest a government law implemented in 2010 that put limits on to what extent the chains are allowed to sell their own lower-priced versions of big-name drugs.

The move was an attempt by the deficit-strapped Ontario government to cut health-care costs as it struggles to balance its books over the next few years.

In February, the two companies won a lower court ruling that said the province had no right to do so. But then the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned that and restored the regulations, causing the two companies to ask the highest court in the land to hear their case.

As is customary, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for their decision to hear the appeal.