Canadians pay almost twice as much as Americans for generics

Generics/Research | Posted 19/11/2010 post-comment0 Post your comment

A new study released on 13 October 2010 by the Canadian Fraser Institute finds that Canadians pay far higher prices, in fact almost double, for generic drugs than patients in the US.


The study found that in currency-equivalent terms, Canadian retail prices for generic prescription drugs in 2008 were 90% higher on average than retail prices in the US for identical drugs.

Of the 64 generic drugs in Canada in 2008 that were compared, 43 were more expensive (average 153%) in Canada, while 21 were more expensive (average 38%) in the US.

Retail prices for generic drugs in Canada were 73% of the price of their brand-name equivalents, compared with generics being just 17% of the price of their brand-name equivalents in the US.

A variety of public policies were identified as contributing to the inflated prices for generic drugs in Canada. These policies were blamed for inhibiting the downward pressure on the retail prices of generic drugs that would occur under normal market conditions.

“Canadians are overpaying for most generic prescription drugs because government policies have cut the consumer out of the process. Governments are setting prices and paying pharmacies directly, eliminating any incentives for comparison shopping or competition,” said Mr Mark Rovere, Fraser Institute Associate Director of Health Policy Research and co-author of Canada’s Drug Price Paradox 2010.

Mr Russell Williams, President of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, commented, “this study shows that there are still significant savings to be had”. “Realizing these savings would give governments an opportunity to provide patients in Canada with improved access to the latest therapies to fight cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many other illnesses”.


Rovere M, Skinner BJ. Canada's Drug Price Paradox, 2010. 13 October 2010.

Source: Fraser Institute, Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx & D).

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