TORONTO — A new report says
the growth in spending on prescribed and non-prescribed drugs has slowed in Canada, but the
overall tally still came to an estimated $31.1 billion last year.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information says drug
expenditures last year grew $1.4 billion or 4.8 per cent over the previous year
— the lowest rate since 1996.
The average annual growth rate in drug spending was nearly
twice as high between 2000 and 2005, at 8.9 per cent.
An institute official says the slowdown in growth is partly
attributable to blockbuster brand name drugs coming off patent, allowing for
lower-priced generic alternatives to be used instead.
Michael Hunt, the director of pharmaceuticals and health
workforce information services, says the implementation of generic pricing
policies by some provincial drug programs may also be contributing to the
Per capita spending on prescribed and non-prescribed drugs
is forecast to reach $912 per Canadian in 2010.
When only prescribed drugs are considered, per capita
spending ranged from a low of $574 in British Columbia
to a high of $883 in Quebec.
The report, published Thursday, said Canada ranked
as the second highest spender per person compared with 25 other countries in
the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2008, the latest
year for which comparative figures are available.
CIHI is an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded
by various levels of government, that provides health information to Canadians.