Generic drug price levels in Canada experienced significant declines in the period from 2010-14, according to research by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

Its report, Generics360, monitors and reports on the latest developments in generic drug pricing and markets in Canada and compares them to 11 other industrialized countries. The analysis, published in February, covers a set of 554 leading generic drugs.

According to the report, Canadian generic prices fell, on average, by 45%, exceeding the generic price declines in all other foreign markets analyzed. Relative to their brand-name counterparts, average generic prices in Canada declined from 63% to 36% over this time period.

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The report also found that the difference between generic prices in Canadian and foreign markets gradually decreased from 40% in 2010 to 19% in 2014. The differential was mainly the result of provincial generic pricing policies.

“While provincial generic pricing policies have been at the centre of the generic price reductions in Canada, their impact is not fully reflected in this report due to the limited time frame examined, the analysis of data at a national level, and the broad basket of drugs included in the analysis,” said the report.

“The national prices examined do not necessarily correspond to the prices in the public sector, particularly for drugs that fell outside the generic pricing policies.

“While the weakening of the Canadian dollar in recent years contributed to an improvement in Canada’s relative position, this change was nearly offset by the price reductions that took place in foreign markets, with most of the remaining gains being accounted for by domestic generic price reductions.”

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Through the implementation of generic pricing policies, the provinces have reduced the price of generic drugs for all Canadians, according to the report. “While these policies have narrowed the gap in generic prices between Canadian and international markets, prices in other countries continue to be lower.”

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