TORONTO, March 26 (UPI) -- For the first time, most of Canada's prescriptions were generic medicines, a report of sales data released by IMS Health Canada said.
Generic drugs were dispensed to fill 51.6 percent of all prescriptions in Canada in 2008 yet accounted for only 23 percent of the $21.4 billion spent on prescription medicines.
"The savings provided by lower-cost generic medicines has never been more important to Canada's healthcare system and its economy," Jim Keon, president of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association said in a statement.
"Given the current economic crisis, it is becoming increasingly important for Canadian governments, taxpayers, businesses and patients to maximize their use of generic prescription medicines in order to make public and employer-sponsored drug benefit plans affordable and sustainable."
The report also said that:
-- In 2008, the use of generic prescription drugs saved Canada's healthcare system approximately $3 billion.
-- The average price of a brand name prescription in Canada is $64.19, while the average price of a generic prescription is $26.07.
-- In the United States, generic drugs are dispensed to fill 69 percent of all prescriptions.