Canadians benefitting from substantially lower generic drug prices

From: Patented Medicine Prices Review Board Canada

The latest edition of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) Generics360 report finds that government policies have significantly reduced the prices for generic drugs in recent years, resulting in important savings for Canadians.

Since 2007, the PMPRB has been monitoring and reporting changes in the Canadian generic landscape to support public and private drug plans in their efforts to make sustainable pricing, purchasing and reimbursement decisions. Over the past decade, the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) has made a concerted effort to lower generic drug prices in Canada. The most recent agreement between the pCPA and the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Alliance (CGPA) effectively closes the gap between Canadian and international prices.

Although Canadians are using more generic drugs than ever, their total spending on generics was the same in 2018 as it was in 2010, due to significant price reductions over that time period. From 2007 to 2018, prices of selected oral generic drugs in Canada have fallen more than prices in comparable countries, decreasing by almost 60%. During this time, some of the most commonly used generics were subject to a more significant 80% price reduction.

All Canadians benefit equally from these price reductions, whether they are covered by public drug plans, private insurers, or pay out of pocket.


“I’m thrilled that our efforts to lower drug prices are paying off for all Canadians. After a decade of collaboration with provinces and territories, Canadians now have access to much more affordable generic drugs. This means huge savings for both individuals & governments and helps lay the groundwork for National Pharmacare.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Minister of Health

“We look forward to continuing the important work of providing our stakeholders with the information they require to make timely and knowledgeable pricing, purchasing and reimbursement decisions.”

Dr. Mitchell Levine

Chairperson, PMPRB

Quick facts

  • In 2018, Canadian generic drug spending was $164 per capita. Generics accounted for 76% of units sold in the pharmaceutical retail market, up from 62% in 2010.

  • Despite growing use, price decreases kept the total spent on generics at $5.4 billion in 2018, the same as in 2010.

  • Generic spending as a share of the Canadian pharmaceutical retail market decreased from 32% in 2010 to 25% in 2018.

  • The April 2018 agreement between pCPA and CGPA set the prices of 67 of the most commonly prescribed generic medicines in Canada at 10% to 18% of their respective brand prices.

  • The PMPRB reports on pharmaceutical trends for all medicines as well as R&D spending by pharmaceutical patentees. The PMPRB also ensures that prices charged by patentees for patented medicines sold in Canada are not excessive.

  • The National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) is a research initiative established by federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Health in September 2001. It is a partnership between the PMPRB and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

  • The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) is a joint effort by all 13 provinces and territories, along with the federal government, to achieve greater value for brand name and generic drugs for publicly funded drug programs.

  • The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) represents a group of companies specialized in the production of generic prescription drugs.

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