Release of Canadian Prescription Drug Sales Information Shows Generic Medicines Provide Best Value Ever

Challenge is for Canadian private and public payers to increase use of generic equivalents

Toronto, June 7, 2012 – The release of 2011 Canadian prescription drug sales information by IMS Brogan shows that generic prescription medicines offer greater value than ever before for Canadians, Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), said today.

Generic prescription medicines were dispensed to fill more than 60 percent of all prescriptions in Canada, yet accounted for less than 25 percent of the $22-billion Canadians spent on prescription drugs in 2011. In Canada, the average price of a brand-name prescription is $73.76, while the average price of a generic prescription is only $25.04. It is estimated that the use of generic medicines saved Canada’s health-care system more than $8-billion in 2011 alone.

“As these figures highlight, generic prescription medicines are providing excellent value for Canadians and those savings are increasing,” Keon said. “As generic companies invest in the R&D and litigation required to bring new cost-savings products to market and as retail prices come down, the next step for ensuring the ongoing sustainability of public and private drug benefit plans in Canada is to increase the use of cost-saving generic equivalents.”

It is estimated that for every one percent increase in generic drug utilization in Canada, Canadians save an additional $262-million. Private sector payers in Canada save an additional $140-million for every one percent increase in their use of generic drugs.

In the United States, generic drugs are dispensed to fill fully 80 percent of all prescriptions. If generic utilization in Canada was equal to US levels, Canadians would have saved up to an additional $3-billion in 2011.

Fully eight of the 10 top-selling generic drugs in Canada came to market through generic drug companies challenging patents which the Canadian courts determined were invalid or non-infringed. This litigation by generic drug companies saved Canadians an additional $33-billion.

Keon also cautioned that savings achieved through new generic product launches and provincial drug reforms could be wiped out by proposals from the European Union (EU), put forward on behalf of brand-name drug companies as part of negotiations for a comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA), to prolong periods of market exclusivity for brand-name drugs in Canada. It is estimated that these proposals will delay the availability of low-priced generic medicines for an average of 3.5 years, at an annual cost to the Canadian health-care system of $2.8 billion annually.

“The EU proposals for CETA will erect barriers to trade for the generic pharmaceutical industry, which today exports more than 40 percent of Canadian production to the United States and more than 100 other countries,” said Keon. “These EU proposals will simply increase profits for brand-name drug companies at the expense of Canada’s health-care system, and that is why they are strongly opposed by provincial governments, private health insurers and others who pay for drugs.”

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 more than 60 per cent of all prescriptions but account for only less than 26 percent of the $22-billion Canadians spend annually on prescription medicines.

For more information, please contact:

Jeff Connell
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)
Tel: (416) 223-2333
Mobile: (647) 274-3379