New Report on Drug Spending in Canada Highlights Importance of Generics and Biosimilars for Future Affordability of Drug Benefit Plans

Toronto, May 29, 2015 – The recently released report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) serves to highlight the importance of cost-saving generic drugs and biosimilars for the ongoing sustainability of drug benefit plans in Canada, Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) said today.

The new CIHI report, Prescribed Drug Spending in Canada, 2013, “reveals that while Canadians continued to save money on generic drugs, those savings were offset by increased spending on newer classes of biologic drugs.”

“The CIHI report confirms that cost-saving generic prescription medicines have been the key to controlling drug costs in Canada,” Keon said. “The report also points out that biologic drugs are the biggest cost-driver. This emphasizes the need for clear rules for the approval and reimbursement of cost-saving biosimilar products in Canada to ensure the ongoing sustainability of drug benefit plans, and improve patient access to treatments.”

A biologic is manufactured in a living system such as a microorganism, or plant or animal cells. Most biologics are very large, complex molecules or mixtures of molecules while a drug is typically manufactured through chemical synthesis, which means that it is made by combining specific chemical ingredients in an ordered process. In Canada, four of the five top-selling pharmaceutical products are biologic products with annual sales of more than $2-billion. These products can be extremely costly.

A biosimilar is a biologic medical product that is manufactured by a different company after the patent protection period for the original product ends. Biosimilar products provide significant savings for patients and payers.

About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents the Canadian generic and biosimilar pharmaceutical industries, which provide high-quality cost-effective medicines to Canadians and save our health-care system nearly $15-billion each year. Generic medicines are dispensed to fill 67% of all prescriptions but account for only 23% of the $22-billion spent annually on prescription drugs in Canada.

For more information, please contact:

Jeff Connell
Director of Public Affairs
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
Tel: (416) 223-2333
Mobile: (647) 274-3379