CANADIAN POLICIES PUSH GENERIC PRICES UP

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Canadian patients seeking to savemoney may soon be shopping at US-basedpharmacies. A new study fromresearchers at the Fraser Institute inVancouver, British Columbia, found that, on average,Canadians are paying twice as much as US residents forgeneric drugs. Although Canadian prices for brand name prescriptiondrugs are averaging 51% lower than US prices, thestudy found that, for generics, patients north of the borderpay 115% more than those in the United States.

?Canadians pay more for generic drugs because governmentpolicies shield generic-drug companies and pharmacyretailers from normal market forces that would naturallyreduce prices,? the researchers said. This study estimatesthat, in 2006 alone, ?misguided government policies costCanadians between $2.5 billion and $6.6 billion in unnecessaryspending due to inflated prices for generic drugs.?

The researchers cited a number of specific Canadian governmentpolicies that contribute to higher generic-drugprices, including the fact that ?drug programs direct publicreimbursement of prescriptions to pharmacies instead ofconsumers??a practice that ?insulates consumers from thecost, thereby removing incentives for comparative shoppingthat would put downward pressure on prices.?