Average Personal Affordability of Prescription Drug Spending in Canada and the United States 2011

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The findings of this study suggest that, on average, greater government intervention in Canada?s drug markets has not provided more affordable access to prescription drugs relative to a less interventionist policy in the United States.

Much of Canadian prescription drug policy is based on the assumption that without government intervention, the market will fail to achieve certain socially desirable outcomes, one of which is affordable access to prescription drugs. This assumption is the basis for justifying policies like price regulation, direct public provision of drug insurance, or government imposed restrictions on consumer choice through policies like mandated therapeutic substitution.

The findings of this study suggest that, on average, greater government intervention in Canada?s drug markets has not provided more affordable access to prescription drugs relative to a less interventionist policy in the United States. Further, this study notes that if other indirect factors are taken into account, there are probably net socio-economic costs associated with government intervention.


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