PMPRB reports $2 billion increase in drugs spend in three years

Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) has released a new report showing the dramatic increase in spending on drugs from public health insurance funds.

The report shows the importance of the work of the PMPRB in ensuring Canadians receive good value for their medicines, balancing the need to control costs with the need to achieve patient access to new drugs. This report was based on data from 2017-18. PMPRB said:

“…prescription drug expenditures by Canadian public drug plans grew by 7.4% to reach $11.4 billion in 2017-18. Drug costs were up by 8.3% over the previous fiscal year, with expenditures on drugs exceeding $10,000 in annual treatment costs rising by 19.3%.

“The growth in expenditures for the public plans were primarily driven by an increased use of higher-cost drugs, renewed pressure from direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs for hepatitis C, and changes to plan designs, with limited savings from generic and biosimilar substitution.”

Key statistics from the report are:

  • “On average, the [National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System] NPDUIS public drug plans paid 87% of the total prescription costs for 277 million prescriptions dispensed to almost 7 million active beneficiaries in 2017-18
  • An increased use of higher-cost medicines accounted for a significant 7.1% upward push on drug costs in 2017-18
  • Drugs with annual treatment cost over $10,000 made up more than 30% of the overall drug costs for the NPDUIS public drug plans in 2017-18, and were used by less than 2% of plan beneficiaries
  • Dispensing costs in the NPDUIS public plans grew by a moderate 3.8% (or $86.1 million) in 2017-18, aligning closely with the recent three-year trend”

Find out more and read the full report through PMPRB’s press release.

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Published 9. September 2020 in News, News Canada