A new report from the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) compares generic drug prices in Canada with those of other industrialized nations. The report was released in August 2013 and highlights changes in generic pricing between 2008 and the first quarter of (Q1-) 2011.
Although generic drug prices in Canada have been markedly reduced, mean international prices are still 35% lower than Canada’s. Yet, the gap between brand-name and generic prices has increased in Canada. In Q1-2009 and Q1-2010 generic drugs were priced at 68% – 69% of the brand-name price; generics were priced at 64% in Q1-2011.
The analysis also conducted a bilateral comparison of Ontario formulary prices with those of 11 industrialized countries. Analysis focused on the top 50 selling generic drugs. These drugs accounted for nearly half of generic sales in the country. The results suggest that in Q1-2011, prices in Ontario for the top 50 generic drugs were higher than the corresponding foreign prices. Only Australia and Switzerland had on average higher prices than Ontario.
The PMPRB issued a similar report in 2011, examining market structure trends of seven industrialized countries. Reported price ratios were well below parity and ranged from 42% (Sweden) to 73% (France) of Canadian prices. Despite recent attempts at the provincial level to address this disparity, the PMPRB’s most recent report suggests that Ontarians — and Canadians — are still paying comparatively higher prices for generics.