Get ready to pay more for your prescription medications.

The provincial government moved yesterday to eliminate $750 million a year in so-called professional allowance fees paid by generic drug companies to pharmacists, despite warnings the move could lead to new charges for patients, service reductions and store closures.

In exchange for pulling the plug on the lucrative payments starting July 1, the government will invest $224 million a year in pharmacies, the bulk of that to raise dispensing fees by $1 to $8 per prescription.

There is $25 million to pay for even higher dispensing fees in rural and northern communities, reaching up to $12 per prescription if there is no other drug store for 25 kilometres.

The government is wiping out the professional allowances in hopes of lowering generic drug prices by about 50 per cent, complaining that the fees have driven prescription prices in Ontario up to five times higher than some other provinces and U.S. states.

It wants generic prices to be no more than 25 per cent of the cost of the original brand name medication.