CGPA Statement on the Release of the Report of the Council of the Federation
Working Group on Health Care Innovation
Toronto, July 27, 2012 – The following is a statement by Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), regarding the release of the report by the Council of the Federation Working Group on Health Care Innovation, From Innovation to Action.
According to IMS Brogan, the leading source of prescription drug sales information, generic drugs fill more than 60 percent of all prescriptions in Canada yet account for less than 25 percent of the $22-billion spent annually on prescription medicines. 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. As these figures highlight, generic prescription medicines are providing excellent value for Canadians and those savings are increasing.
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 prescription medicines. It is estimated that for every one percent increase in generic drug utilization in Canada, Canadians save an additional $262-million. 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.
In addition, there are other actions Premiers could take to reduce their drug budgets. The Drummond Report in Ontario made several recommendations regarding pharmaceuticals, including: using an evidence-based approach to decisions regarding coverage of new brand-name drugs, permitting pharmacists to substitute less expensive alternatives to prescriptions, permitting pharmacists to administer injectable and inhalant medications, and allowing pharmacists to prescribe for minor ailments. These proposals would provide significantly greater savings than bulk purchasing of generic prescription drugs and should be pursued as a priority by the Council of the Federation.
The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association and its member companies are committed to continuing to work with Premiers to develop appropriately targeted measures to yield substantial savings to provincial drug programs."
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