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RX Drug Price in Chaos? Tips from A Canadian Drug Pharmacy

By CanadaDrugsOnline

RX Drug Price in Chaos

To many Americans, Canadian drugs are the epitome of affordability, compared with the astronomical prices they may face inside the United States. For many, this reality is true. However, some Canadian drug pricing can still be too expensive to fill because of the lopsided universal health coverage in Canada. Right now, there is no universal health coverage for prescriptions in Canada and their pricing system is very similar to that of the United States. While Canada has a little more leverage with prices, they higher costs still open up a dialogue for drug pricing reform that helps both Canadians and Americans alike.

In fact, 1 in 10 Americans are not filling their prescriptions or they end up foregoing filling a recommended mediation because of the out-of-pocket expenses. This type of consumer behavior is not only bad for business, it’s downright dangerous to the patient—leading to diseases going untreated—or worse yet, ending in death.

In order to protect Americans, as well as Canadians, so they can afford their medications, it’s clear something needs to change. There are a number of potential solutions, but as of right now, it’s unclear as to which direction the two governments might go to make medications more affordable. Let’s take a closer look at the problem, as well as some solutions being considered for making Canadian drug prices more affordable for everyone.

Prescription Canadian Drug Spending Continues to Rise

In 2017, drug costs made up 16.4% of total healthcare costs in Canada and cost an average of $1086 per Canadian. This is well over $30 billion dollars in Canada Rx spending. Americans, however, spent $325 billion in drug spending in 2016 and it continues to be the fastest growing healthcare cost. There’s no end in sight, either.

Part of the reason for the increase in overall spending, including medications imported from Canada, has to do with more expensive medications like biologics hitting the market. Their price tag is considerably higher than ordinary pharmaceuticals. Biologics are medications made from living organisms, which can be more complex to manufacture since they are not relying on a chemical compound or formula. They also treat a wide range of diseases, and even some that are life-threatening—including cancer. Because of their life-saving capabilities, biologics represent the fastest growing segment and cost to healthcare spending in Canada and the United States.

Another part of the drug price problem with biologic medications is the difficulty in making a generic equivalent. Because they’re not chemically-produced drugs, copying their formula exactly isn’t always possible. Thus, biosimilar medications are as close to a generic equivalent as a biologic medication can get—and they’re nowhere near as affordable as a standard generic due to the production costs.

While generic medications coming into the market have helped bring significant savings to consumers, some have been met with unexpected shortages or are on an indefinite back order by their manufacturer. Drug companies are under no obligation to keep medications in stock, or even to foresee a need for a medication that saves lives—and keep more on hand in case of an influx of consumer need. One of the possible solutions on the horizon happens to be Canadian government funded pharma-related research and development—particularly for generic medications. The idea is to consider the list of consistent generic shortages, and work toward creating a drug manufacturing entity that would fill the gap.

If the Canadian government does this, it could potentially kill two birds with one stone: ending some of the drug shortages, as well as being a driving factor for bringing the costs down for some of the life-saving medications that seem to keep going on back order. This would have the potential to help anyone looking to save money by importing Canadian drugs—as well as Canadians themselves.

Canadian Prescription Drug Pricing Needs Drastic Reform

As stated earlier, nearly 10% of Americans don’t take recommended prescription medications due to the cost—and this behavior can have deadly consequences.

Canada currently has a hybrid public-private payer healthcare system and it can cause issues when it comes to affordable pricing for medications; even though the prices are typically far cheaper than what you would find in the United States.

Right now, many Americans pay for their prescriptions on their own, with little-to-no help from their personal health insurance or the government. Because of this, many have to hunt for the most affordable route to get the medications they need. This can mean ordering online through a reputable Canadian pharmacy, such as Canada Drugs Online.

However, turning to Canada for the prescriptions they need for common conditions (like high blood pressure or high cholesterol), doesn’t always save tons of money. Canada currently has the second-highest medication costs for common conditions, when compared to nine other countries with universal healthcare. The good news is, many Canadian pharmacies are also dispensaries—providing even deeper discounts when they can sell and ship medications from the UK or India or from other international suppliers.

Without a different approach entirely to pharmaceutical coverage, patients around the world are seeking new ways to price out medications to make them more affordable. One of the possible solutions to this conundrum is to for Canada to reevaluate their drug prices based on the value they deliver to the recipient. But this is more difficult than it sounds.

At present, the real drug price costs are kept secret in both Canada and the United States and without something major changing the course in either country—not much is going to change on this front. While Canada is looking into creating a value-based pricing structure, in order to deviate to this new approach, it will require some dramatic reforms to the current process—and these changes are likely to be met with significant pushback from the drug companies.

In trying to price a medication more effectively based on value, some believe it should be calculated by comparing its efficacy, safety data, research costs, and the seriousness of the disease it treats. This approach will help to make price-setting more transparent for all, as well as sustainable.

Another possible solution would be for Canada to dive into a national pharmacare program that would be able to exercise a certain level of clout with manufacturers to bring the rising costs down. A new report even claims taking on this approach could save Canadians $4.24 billion dollars a year, which could be translated into savings for Americans importing medications as well. Reportedly, the Canadian government is currently examining the impacts of a national pharmacare plan, as well as changes to Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) — which currently sets the prices for patented medicines. Right now, there are over 100 pharmacare programs in Canada between provinces and the federal government. Consolidating everything into one program would not only simplify things but save money overall—which is key for both Canadians and Americans.

Marijuana’s 2018 Legalization

As of October 17, 2018, Canada has become the first major industrialized country, but second country in the world to legalize marijuana (Uruguay being the first in 2013). Statistics Canada believes Canadians are on track to spending upward of $6 billion dollars on marijuana (in all its various forms). American statistics aren’t far off in the states where usage is legalized.

In the United States, currently only 8 states have legalized marijuana; while 30 have approved medical use of cannabis. With drug prices for some Americans being out of reach, it’s likely many along the Canadian border may migrate on occasion to self-medicate with pot.

In fact, Statistics Canada released the potentially sobering statistic that 1 in 7 Canadian cannabis users has driven under the influence at least once in the past three months, and one could assume that number will rise if Americans cross the border to consume, too. Understanding and identifying marijuana’s “under the influence” signs will certainly be an issue for law enforcement going forward.

Beyond the legalities of how to manage over-use and judgement impairment due to marijuana usage, other issues are arising. Already, cries of shortages for both medical and recreational marijuana have been heard and it’s unclear if manufacturers will be able to keep up with demand at first. Particularly as manufacturers need to get the proper certifications from the government to manufacture and distribute without potential legal action.

We have, as of yet, to see how this might manifest for everyday people and how the Canadian pharmaceutical industry might evolve to include cannabis and medical marijuana products going forward. It could certainly shake things up for both Americans and Canadians.

Will the United States Set the Stage for Lower Drug Prices?

While Canadians may have higher prices than other countries with universal healthcare, their prices certainly don’t match those being faced by the uninsured or underinsured Americans. Right now, the United States spends more per capita on prescription medications than any other country in the world. Nearly half a trillion dollars per year goes toward medications and has been rising at an intense rate—one that blows past wages, the US economy, and counting for inflation. This breakneck pace is one that is putting a strain on American’s budgets, as well as the American economy as a whole.

In the past, Mr. Trump has promised to crack down on pharmaceutical prices. In fact, it was even a key promise when he was on the campaign trail. His administration released an American Patients First Initiative back in May 2018, via the Department of Health and Human Services, but as of October, not much has changed.

Unfortunately, drug makers are well insulated from political pressure and so far, most efforts haven’t amounted to much. In fact, according to the Associated Press, more than 4,400 brand name medications actually rose in price, while only 46 went down so far in 2018.

This month, the Trump Administration announced it would require television ads for prescription medications to display the price tag clearly for the viewer—presumably in an attempt to shame the manufacturer in keeping the price lower. The Patient’s Right to Know Drug Prices Act went into effect October 10th and even earned some bipartisan support.

Just like with Canada, drug pricing in the United States is far from transparent. Drug manufacturers set high prices, presumably to cover the costs of research and development for new drugs. However, they usually negotiate rebates, discounts, and different pricing via insurance companies.

Mid-year, Pfizer, the United States largest drug maker, raised prices on 40 medicines and vaccines—some even going up by 9-10%. This incurred an angry Trump tweet, which inspired a back off from Pfizer until January 2019. Seven other drug makers vowed not to raise their prices again for the year after this exchange—though they had already raised rates in January.

While the Trump Administration continues to talk about reducing the cost of prescription medications in the United States, no strong stances or legislation has been put into place. In fact, 77% of Americans consider the cost of medications to be “unreasonable” and less than 25% believe Trump is doing enough to address the problem.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a new trilateral trade pact between the United States, Mexico, and Canada (and successor to NAFTA) is meant to help grow the middle class, but some say it will drive up costs for biologics, as it extends the minimum data protection period from eight years to ten. This means an extra two years of delayed research and development of biosimilar generics for these medications—mostly manufactured by American companies.

However, some believe this two-year concession won’t mean much in the grand scheme, since the protection for ordinary drug patents is much higher, at 20 years.

Tips to Fill Your Canadian Drugs from an Established Canadian Pharmacy

While it may be true that Canadian drug prices are in a state of flux, it doesn’t mean you can’t find them at an affordable price. Filling your prescriptions from a Canadian drug pharmacy you trust can save you money, as well as being a completely painless experience.

If you’re looking for the most affordable prescription medications Canada has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. Canada Drugs Online offers both brand name and generic equivalent medications for all of the most popular Canada drugs — from Viagra to Cialis, to Nexium, Crestor, and more. Ordering your prescription and over the counter medications online from our site is a simple process and one we know you’ll appreciate once you give it a try.

For those of you familiar with Canadadrugs.com’s closing, we know how important it is to maintain our reputation with our 100K+ customers who purchase through our site. Their closing affected many consumers and pharmacies alike; which is why we strive to provide exceptional savings to all of our customers—new and old.

We respect and honor each of our customers, which is why CanadaDrugsOnline.com is a certified PharmacyChecker.com as well as CIPA online pharmacy. We want you to know we’re here for the long haul and have the credentials to back us up. If online protection is crucial to you, you should know it is to us, as well. We are secured by GeoTrust, so you know your online orders are safe and encrypted with the highest level of security possible.

If you’re ready to order online with us, you have a number of options to get the medications you need. You can order online with our convenient online ordering system, or you can order by phone, by mail, fax, or email. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to order in a way that’s comfortable to you. If you have questions regarding any medications, their side effects, or need more help on how to order, give us a call at 877-900-3784 and we would be happy to assist you.


In addition to dispensing from our affiliated Canadian dispensing pharmacy, we also dispense your medications from international fulfillment centers that are approved by the regulatory bodies from their respective countries. canadadrugsonline.com dispenses medications from fulfillment centers around the world including and not limited to Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Turkey, Mauritius, India, and United Kingdom.
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