Sustainable Healthcare

1% Increase Savings

The ongoing sustainability of our health-care system and employer and union-sponsored drug benefit benefit plans is highly dependent on the increased use of generic prescription medicines.

Last year governments, employers and patients saved nearly 15-billion dollars by using generic medicines.  Generic Medicines were dispensed to fill 68.6% of all prescriptions, but accounted for only 22% of the $24.8-billion Canadians spent on prescription drugs.

Source: IMSBrogan

Savings Available for Every 1% Increase in the Use of Generic Drugs – 2015

Province Private Savings Public Savings Total Savings
British Columbia $23,800,000 $14,000,000 $37,800,000
Alberta $20,400,000 $17,600,000 $38,000,000
Saskatchewan $5,500,000 $5,500,000 $11,000,000
Manitoba $7,000,000 $5,900,000 $12,900,000
Ontario $99,600,000 $73,600,000 $173,200,000
Quebec $72,200,000 $61,000,000 $133,200,000
New Brunswich $6,700,000 $3,300,000 $10,000,000
Nova Scotia $7,400,000 $4,000,000 $11,400,000
P.E.I. $700,000 $400,000 $1,100,000
Newfoundland Labrador $3,700,000 $2,100,000 $5,800,000
Canada $246,800,000 $187,300,000 $434,100,000
Source: CGPA calculations based on IMS Brogan data and CIHI public private market share.


For every one percent increase in the use of generic medicine Canadians would have saved an additional 434-million dollars last year.  In the United States, generics were used to fill 88.7% of all prescriptions.  If the use of generic medicine in Canada were equal to the U.S. levels, Canadians would have saved more than $8.7-billion in 2015.