Toronto, October 5, 2020 – Canadians have saved close to $2-billion in prescription drug costs during the first half of the five-year agreement between the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA).
As part of the agreement – which includes federal government drug plans and all of Canada’s provinces and territories except Quebec – the prices of nearly 70 of the most commonly prescribed drugs in Canada were reduced by 25 to 40 percent effective April 1, 2018, resulting in overall discounts of up to 90 percent off the price of their brand-name equivalents.
“Canada’s generic pharmaceutical industry continues to make an essential contribution to affordable patient care in Canada,” said Jim Keon, President of the CGPA. “We are, however, growing concerned about the impact of years of price cuts on the sustainability of domestic manufacturing capacity, and the ongoing continuity of Canada’s supply of prescription medicines.”
Data released by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) shows that, since 2007, the average price of generic prescription medicines in Canada has fallen by nearly 60 percent, with prices of some of the top-selling generics dropping by an average of 80 percent.
These massive price cuts have resulted in new cost structures for generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, which has led to more of Canada’s drug supply coming from lower-cost jurisdictions such as China and India.
“COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for governments, healthcare professionals and the public about Canada’s increasing reliance on imports,” Keon said. “Moving forward there must be a recognition that sustainable pricing levels are needed to maintain the continuity of supply for Canadians.”
With nearly three quarters of all prescriptions in Canada being filled with generic prescription medicines, Canada’s supply of prescription medicines rests largely with the generic pharmaceutical industry.
“Canadians have continued to have access to both their regular day-to-day medicines and the products needed to treat patients with COVID-19 during the pandemic as a result of the tireless efforts of generic pharmaceutical companies,” said Keon. “The pandemic has also exposed several areas where improvements can be made to help secure a sustainable supply of prescription medicines for Canadians.”
In June 2020, CGPA released its Blueprint for a Sustainable Supply of Prescription Medicines for Canadians that identifies measures to strengthen the domestic pharmaceutical industry and Canada’s place in the international supply chain to ensure Canadians have a secure and consistent supply of prescription medicines.