In 2014, the generic share of the number of retail prescriptions was 67.1% equating to 402 million generic prescriptions.Growth of generic prescriptions was 6.7% compared to the previous year. Yet, generic pharmaceutical salesaccounted for only 22.6% of the total cost of the Canadian prescription drug market, totaling 5.3-billion dollars in drugstore and hospital sales. Canada’s total prescription drug expenditures now exceeds 23.3-billion dollars.As the chart below illustrates, according to 2014 IMS Health data, the average cost of a brand-name prescription is now $85.11, while the average cost of a generic prescription is $21.34. The average price of a brand-name prescription increased by 40% over the last 10 years. In comparison, Canadians now pay less for a generic prescription than they did in 2004.
* Average retail price is based on total price of prescriptions (price of drug plus any mark-ups and professional dispensing fees) divided by estimated prescriptions dispensed in Canadian retail pharmacies (excludes hospitals; includes retail new and refills).
The generic share of retail prescriptions has grown from 44.8% in 2006 to a current high of 67.1%. The generic share of dollar purchases by drugstores and hospitals has grown from 18.2% in 2006 to 22.6% in 2014. 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 2014 was 67.1%. The generic share of prescriptions by province ranged from a low in Alberta of 64.0% to a high of 72.2% in Manitoba. Drug programs implemented in each of the provinces contributed to this variance.