Canadians continue to pay more than most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries for generic drugs, despite provincial and territorial policies that have greatly reduced prices in recent years, according to a new report by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.
The Generics360 report found Canadians spent $165 per capita on generic drugs in 2016, second only to the United States among OECD countries. Canada ranked the seventh highest in terms of prices.
The report indicates costs to public drug plans in Canada in fiscal year 2015-16 could have been reduced by nearly $500 million dollars — or more than five per cent of total drug costs — if higher-priced, top-selling generic drugs had been aligned with international levels.
Between 2013 and 2016, the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance reduced the prices of 18 of the most commonly used generics to 18 per cent of their brand name price, according to the report, which notes the prices of these medications have been reduced by 66 per cent over the last decade. However, it also shows that, in the last quarter of 2016, the average foreign prices for generic drugs were still 14 per cent lower compared to Canada.
In 2016, generics accounted for 74 per cent of the volume of drugs in the Canadian pharmaceutical market, ranking just behind the U.S. and Germany among OECD countries, according to the report.