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Our Impact

Drug Pricing Trends & the
Sustainability of Drug Plans

The development and increasing use of expensive new medicines has had a significant impact on benefit plans and will continue to put pressure on the sustainability of employer-sponsored drug benefit plans. According to the PMPRB’s 2019 Annual Report, in 2009 only one of the top-selling patented medicines in Canada had a treatment cost over $1,000 a year. Ten years later, in 2019, seven of the top selling patented medicines had annual treatment costs that exceeded $10,000 a year.

Source: Patent Medicine Prices Review Board, 2019 Annual Report

Where Are the Savings to Offset the Costs?

The Pathway to Savings Opportunities

Currently, the most commonly prescribed generic medicines are available at a 90% discount off the price of the brand-name versions. As of 2021 the average price of a brand-name drug had climbed to $121.20, while the average price is only $20.29.

In the United States, more than 90% of all prescriptions are filled using generic medicines. In Canada, only 67.1% of all prescriptions covered by private sector drug plans are filled using generic medicines. If private sector payers bridged the gap and increased the use of generics by as little as 5%, the cumulative savings could be as much as 2-billion dollars every year. 

Source: According to research conducted by CGPA among members of the ANGUS REID FORUM. 2020

When 80% of Canadians agree, it is safe to say increasing the use of generic medicines is the right prescription.