In 2015, the generic share of the number of retail prescriptions was 68.6% equating to 429 million generic prescriptions. Growth of generic prescriptions was 6.8% compared to the previous year. Yet, generic pharmaceutical sales accounted for only 22% of the total cost of the Canadian prescription drug market, totaling 5.5-billion dollars in drugstore and hospital sales. Canada’s total prescription drug expenditures have reached 24.8-billion dollars.
As the chart below illustrates, according to 2015 IMS Health data, the average cost of a brand-name prescription is now $91.92, while the average cost of a generic prescription is only $20.92. The average price of a brand-name prescription increased by more than 50% over the last 12 years. In comparison, Canadians now pay less for a generic prescription than they did in 2004.
The generic share of retail prescriptions has grown from 44.8% in 2006 to a current high of 68.6%. The generic share of dollar purchases by drugstores and hospitals has grown from 18.2% in 2006 to 22% in 2015. This increased share for generic prescriptions is as a result of changes to provincial and private sector drug programs which are relying more on generics as one of the best ways to contain fast-rising drug program costs. The dollar share has continued to decline since 2010, in large part, due to provincial drug reforms.
The national share of generic prescriptions for the year 2015 was 68.6%. The generic share of prescriptions by province ranged from a low in British Columbia of 65.2% to a high of 72.4% in Manitoba. Drug programs implemented in each of the provinces contributed to this variance.