Research suggests that government health spending in Canada has
persistently grown at an unsustainable pace over time. During certain
periods, government spending on prescription drugs (both patented and
non-patented) has grown faster than other components of health spending.
In addition, new patented prescription medicines are often more
expensive than existing drugs. These observations have led some to
assume that prescription drugs—and patented medicines, in particular—are
the primary cause of the unsustainable growth in government health
spending observed in Canada.
To evaluate the validity of this claim, The Misguided War against Medicines 2010
examines all of the ways in which spending on drugs may contribute to
the overall growth in total government health spending. The evidence
suggests that neither patented medicines in particular, nor prescription
drugs in general, can be blamed for the unsustainable growth rates of
government health spending.