For Immediate Release
May 3, 2012
Ministry of Health
B.C. has lowest drug spending per person in Canada
VICTORIA – British Columbia continues to have the lowest spending per person on prescription drugs in Canada, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
In its report “Drug Expenditure in Canada, 1985 to 2011” released today, CIHI’s data shows spending per person on prescription drugs in 2011 was lowest in B.C. at $575. The province with the highest spending per person was Nova Scotia at $985.
B.C.’s public-sector spending on prescribed drugs also continues to be the lowest in Canada, at $237 per person.
The report also shows drug spending accounted for 12.9 per cent of total health spending in B.C., well below the Canadian average of 16 per cent.
CIHI notes growth in drug spending may have slowed due in part to generic drug-pricing agreements and legislation in several provinces, such as B.C. The Province expects this downward trend in growth to continue with the recent introduction of the Pharmaceutical Services Act and future drug-pricing regulations.
The Pharmaceutical Services Act will allow the Province to control and further lower the prices of generic drugs, saving upward of $170 million a year compared to when B.C. started lowering generic prices in 2009-10.
Minister of Health Michael de Jong –
“We are committed to providing British Columbians with access to the best drug therapies at the best price possible for taxpayers. As this report from CIHI shows, our hard work to control rising drug costs continues to pay off.”
“Keeping drug costs reasonable helps keep the entire health-care system affordable and sustainable.”
· PharmaCare is one of the fastest-growing areas of the health-care budget. Since 2001, the PharmaCare budget has increased by approximately 74 per cent – from $654 million to more than $1.1 billion for 2011-12.
· PharmaCare is one of the most comprehensive programs in the country and provides coverage to every British Columbian.
· Through Fair PharmaCare, every British Columbian is eligible for assistance with prescription costs. Deductible levels are set to reflect patients’ ability to pay. The lowest income earners pay no deductible at all, and those born in or before 1939 receive enhanced assistance.
· A 2010 study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives notes, “British Columbia is often held up as a model for the rest of Canada in terms of pharmaceutical policy and health outcomes,” and that these positive health outcomes are achieved at a lower cost than other provinces.
· To read “Drug Expenditure in Canada, 1985 to 2011”, please visit the Canadian Institute of Health Information at: www.cihi.ca
· More information on the Pharmaceutical Services Act, the proposed legislation which will allow the Province to control and further lower the price of generic drugs, can be found at: http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th4th/1st_read/gov35-1.htm
· For information about PharmaCare, British Columbia’s public drug plans, who can register, how to register, and what drugs are covered, please visit PharmaCare’s website: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect