Drug prices almost double in Canada: Study

Prices for generic prescription drugs in 2007 were 112 per cent higher than United States


Prices for generic prescription drugs in Canada are more than twice as high as those in the United States, according to a study from research organization the Fraser Institute. Canada’s Drug Price Paradox 2008 finds Canadian prices for generic prescription drugs in 2007 were on average 112 per cent higher than U.S. prices for identical drugs (compared to 2003 when Canadian generic prescription drugs were 78 per cent higher).

At the same time, Canadian prices for brand-name prescription drugs in 2007 were 53 per cent lower than American prices (compared to 2003 when they were 43 per cent lower).

“Canadians continue to pay highly inflated prices for generic drugs relative to the U.S.,” said Brett Skinner, Fraser’s director of health, pharmaceutical and insurance policy research and principal author of the study.

“Canadian government policies are insulating generic drug companies and pharmacy retailers from normal, competitive free market forces that would put downward pressure on prices for generic drugs,” he said.

The study also found American consumers substitute the generic versions of drugs for brand-name originals at higher rates than Canadians. Of the total prescriptions dispensed in Canada in 2007, 48 per cent were for generic drugs and 52 per cent for brand-name drugs. In the U.S., 67 per cent were for generics with just 33 per cent for brand-name drugs.

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