Generic drugs accounted for all growth in prescriptions dispensed in Canada from 2004 to 2005, according to a new report by healthcare research group IMS Health.
Overall, generic drugs made up 43 percent of prescriptions filled by Canadians in 2005, said the report, which noted the total number of prescriptions dispensed grew 3.7 percent last year. Brand manufacturers' share of prescriptions dispensed fell 0.2 percent in 2005, IMS said.
Retail pharmacies also bought more generic drugs than brand drugs, with generic purchases increasing 13.8 percent and brand drug purchases rising only 4.9 percent, IMS said.
At the same time, the growth rate for prescription drug spending slowed to 7.3 percent in 2005, its lowest growth level since 1996, IMS said.
The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) said that Canada could save as much as $500 million annually if it increased the percentage of generic drugs it dispenses by 10 percent. The group called for Canada to close loopholes in its drug patent laws that currently allow brand drug companies to extend their patents, hampering Canadians' access to generic drugs.