Canada Spends $30 Billion on Medications

OTTAWA, April 23 (UPI) — Total drug spending in Canada increased more than 5 percent in 2009 for a total of $30 billion, officials of a non-profit group calculated.

A report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information said medications prescribed by a physician are 85 percent of total drug spending in Canada.

Spending on prescribed drugs has slowed since the early 2000s, when double-digit annual growth rates were the norm, the report said.

“Spending on pharmaceuticals has consistently remained one of the major components of total health expenditure over the last two decades,” Michael Hunt, director of pharmaceuticals and health workforce at Canadian Institute for Health Information, said in a statement.

“However, total drug spending now appears to be slowing down and is expected to experience its smallest growth in the past 10 years.”

Expenditures on medication accounts for an estimated 16.4 percent of Canada’s total healthcare bill, after hospitals, the report said.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says in 2007 the United States had the highest per capita spending for medication — $1,062 — followed by Canada’s $836 and France’s $711.

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