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Canada’s Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Supports Improved Access to Prescription Drug Coverage for Canadians

Toronto, April 7, 2022 – The following is a statement from Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), in response to the 2022 budget commitment for the federal government to continue its ongoing work towards a universal national pharmacare program:

“The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) and its member companies support efforts to improve prescription drug coverage for Canadians. Making prescription drugs more affordable and accessible is the key value proposition of Canada’s generic pharmaceutical industry.

The ongoing sustainability of our health-care system and drug benefit plans is highly dependent on the increased use of generic prescription medicines. Generic prescription medicines are dispensed to fill nearly three quarters of all prescriptions in Canada but account for only less than 21 percent of the $35-billion Canadians spend annually on prescription drugs. Due to CGPA’s initiatives with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA), Canadian generic medicines are providing greater value than ever and more must be done to increase their use and the resulting savings to Canada’s health-care system. It is estimated that a one percent increase in the use of generic medicines Canadians would have saved an additional $704-million last year alone. 

While CGPA supports efforts to improve prescription drug coverage, governments must also ensure that Canadians have a more secure supply of prescription medicines by supporting enhanced domestic production capacity and a more resilient supply chain.

A recent study by consulting firm EY Canada commissioned by CGPA reports that, over the past three years, there has been a 34 percent decline in the total number of generic medicines manufactured in Canada from 1,061 in 2019 to 700 in 2021. In addition, almost all active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used to manufacture generic medicines in Canada are imported from 45 countries around the world, with more than 60 percent of APIs coming from India and China.

The report warns that global supply chains have become increasingly complex, introducing risks, disruptions and shortages of prescription medicines. The generics market in Canada faces downward pressure on pricing with increasing costs of labour, land, transportation, fuel and a complex regulatory regime. Combined, these elements are increasing the fragility of the domestic industry.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian generic pharmaceutical companies have overcome significant challenges to successfully avoid catastrophic prescription drug shortages. Governments and stakeholders must now take steps to strengthen the domestic industry and optimize how generic prescription medicines are supplied to Canadians.

We must learn from the threats to our supply of prescription medicines posed by the pandemic and ensure that a national pharmacare program improves prescription drug coverage for Canadians while also protecting their supply.”

About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents Canada’s generic pharmaceutical industry. The industry plays an important role in controlling health-care costs in Canada. Generic drugs are dispensed to fill more than 76 percent of all prescriptions but account for account for less than 22 percent of the $41.5-billion Canadians spend annually on prescription medicines.

For more information, please contact :

Jeff Connell,
Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Tel: (647) 274-3379