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Prices of Canadian Generic Medicines Below International Average

PMRPB: Canadian price declines steepest of all OECD countries

Toronto, May 29, 2019 – New data released today by the federal government’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) shows that in 2018 Canadian prices for generic prescription medicines dropped to five percent below average or mean prices in comparator countries.

The PMPRB’s data also 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. While prices of generic medicines have fallen in markets around the world, Canada has experienced the steepest decline of all OECD countries.

“Generic medicines are providing tremendous value and savings for Canadians, largely due to the work we have done with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA),” said Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA). “Now that Canadian payers have benefitted from massive price declines for generic prescription medicines in Canada, much more must be done to increase Canadians’ access to and use of these products.”

It is estimated that for every one percent increase in the use of generic medicines, Canadians save an additional $586-million. In the United States, for example, generics are dispensed to fill 90 percent of all prescriptions. If the use of generic medicines in Canada was equal to U.S. levels, Canadians would have saved an additional $11-billion in 2018.

“It is a waste of Canadian’s health-care dollars when payers continue to pay for brand-name versions of drugs when generic equivalents are available at up to a 90 percent discount,” Keon said. “As today’s PMPRB data clearly demonstrates, Canada’s generic pharmaceutical sector has made more than its fair share of sacrifice towards making prescription drugs more affordable in Canada. Rules for Canadian drug benefit plans must change to ensure that generic equivalents are being dispensed and reimbursed whenever they are available.”

Changes are also needed at Health Canada to ensure that cost-saving generic prescription medicines available in other jurisdictions are also available to Canadians. In addition, Canada’s new Commissioner of Competition recently identified the pharmaceutical sector as a priority area of focus due to concerns over brand-name company tactics that are delaying and impeding Canadians’ access to generic and biosimilar medicines.

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