Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canadians spend almost $30 billion a year on medications, study finds

From the Canadian Press:
Canadians are forking out close to $30 billion a year to stock their medicine cabinets with prescription and over-the-counter medications, says an annual report on drug spending released Thursday.

That works out to an average of almost $900 per person across the country, concluded the Canadian Institute for Health Information report on estimated 2008 drug costs outside hospitals.

The report shows last year's drug expenditures accounted for 17.4 per cent of total health costs - nearly double the proportion that drug spending claimed in 1985 when the institute began compiling and publishing such data.

"Typically, and this has been a pattern really for the last 10 years, drugs are certainly the fastest-growing component of health expenditure," said Michael Hunt, CIHI manager of pharmaceutical programs.

Drug spending grew by an estimated eight per cent in 2008 over the previous year, outstripping the six per cent rate of growth in what is paid out for hospitals and doctors.

"So it's really not in line with what we see for physician spending, hospital spending and actually the overall increase in health expenditure," Hunt said from Ottawa. ...more

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