Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette vowed on Tuesday to launch a bidding process for generic drugs unless a new deal is reached with the association representing manufacturers by that evening.

Barrette made the announcement at the National Assembly during a meeting of cabinet ministers.

The minister said it took the threat of a launching the tender process last week for the pharmaceutical industry to resume stalled negotiations.

The parties had resumed contact over the weekend and Barrette said he is awaiting a final proposal.

Barrette confirmed that the previous offer would have saved Quebecers $1.5 billion on generic drugs over five years.

“Generic drugs cost the Quebec government $800 million per year,” he said. “It’s much too expensive.”