Federal Minister of Health tables the 2021 Annual Report of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

News release

November 21, 2022 — Ottawa, ON — Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Health, tabled the 2021 Annual Report of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) with the Clerks of the Senate and the House of Commons on Friday.

The 2021 Annual Report outlines the continuing rise in the sales of high-cost medicines in Canada. Sales of patented medicines were $17.4 billion in 2021, driven primarily by the increased use of higher-cost medicines. Medicines with an average annual treatment cost of at least $10,000 accounted for 57% of patented medicine sales in Canada in 2021, while 5% of total sales can be attributed to 29 medicines that cost over $100,000 per year.

The report also sets out other detailed information on the PMPRB’s regulatory activities; patentees’ compliance with the Board’s pricing guidelines; sales and price trends of patented medicines sold in Canada, including international price comparisons, trends in all medicine expenditures, and spending on pharmaceutical research and development.

The PMPRB is an independent quasi-judicial body that protects the interests of Canadian consumers by ensuring the prices of patented medicines sold in Canada are not excessive, and provides stakeholders with price, cost, and utilization information to help them make timely and knowledgeable medicine pricing, purchasing, and reimbursement decisions.

Quick facts

  • 1,117 patented medicines for human use were reported to the PMPRB in 2021, including 59 new medicines.

  • Sales of patented medicines in Canada were $17.4 billion in 2021, a 1.7% decrease from 2020.

  • Canadian list prices were third highest among the 31 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, below only Switzerland and the US.

  • Canada remains an important market for pharmaceuticals, representing 2.1% of worldwide sales. 

  • Canada spends nearly the same amount as the UK on pharmaceuticals despite having only half its population.

  • The average ratio of R&D expenditures to sales revenues for patentees was 3.4% in 2021, a 71% decrease from a peak of 11.7% in 1995. 

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