The Fraser Institute has updated their study of the 100 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs and the 100 most commonly prescribed generic drugs in Canada. They concluded that Canadian retail prices for generic prescription drugs in 2008 were 90 percent higher on average than retail prices in the United States for identical drugs. This compares with an average of 112 percent in 2007 and 115 percent in 2006.
Of the 64 generic drugs in Canada that were directly comparable to the U.S., 43 were more expensive in Canada, while 21 were more expensive in the U.S. However, for the generic drugs that were more expensive in Canada, prices were an average of 153 percent higher than in the United States.
Retail prices for generics in Canada were 73 percent the price of the brand-name originator drug, compared with just 17 percent of the brand-name equivalents in the U.S.
A variety of federal and provincial public policies are identified as contributing to inflated prices for generic drugs in Canada. Combined with exclusive distribution rights and fixed reimbursement rates, there is a lack of competition between generics driving down the price as there is in the United States. The authors suggest that switching to policies that introduce competitive market dynamics will act to regulate the prices of generic drugs at comparable levels.
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