Market Intelligence Report: Combination Inhalers for Asthma, 2018

The PMPRB Market Intelligence Report series provides detailed information on specific therapeutic market segments of importance to Canadians. These targeted analyses are designed to inform policy discussions, aid in evidence-based decision making, and provide Canadians with insight into issues pertaining to pharmaceutical pricing and utilization in Canada and internationally.

This edition of the report analyzes the market for inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting beta agonist (LABA) combination inhalers used in the treatment of asthma. These medicines generate annual sales of over half a billion dollars in Canada and represent close to half of the total sales for obstructive airway disease medicines. Canadian list prices for combination inhalers for asthma far exceed the levels prevailing in many other countries, and in fact, this sub-class tops the list of therapeutic areas with the greatest cost implications due to higher prices in Canada.

Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in Canada, affecting over three million Canadians and imposing substantial costs in terms of drug spending as well as lost productivity. This report examines four combination inhalers available in Canada that are used to maintain control over asthma symptoms as part of a continuum of treatment:

The analysis provides insight into the use of these medicines, as well as their market shares, pricing, and annual treatment costs. It explores Canadian markets from the national as well as public and private payer perspectives, positioning them within an international context. The findings are centred on the 2018 calendar year, with a retrospective look at trends in recent years.

International markets examined include the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, with a focus on the seven countries the PMPRB currently considers in reviewing the prices of patented medicines (PMPRB7): France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).

The results of this study will inform policy discussions and aid in evidence-based decision making on the price and reimbursement of these medicines at the public and private payer levels in Canada.

Key Findings

Market Intelligence 1

Canadian per capita sales of combination inhalers for asthma are among the highest in the OECD

Market Intelligence 2

Combination inhalers for asthma have not benefitted from the same level of generic competition as oral solid medicines

Market Intelligence 3

Despite relatively modest per patient treatment costs, the widespread use of combination inhalers for asthma makes them a strong contributor to Canadian drug plan spending

Market Intelligence 4

When comparing brand prices for combination inhalers in Canada to foreign markets, Canadian prices are consistently higher, with important cost implications for both public and private payers

Full report

Page details

Date modified: