The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) published their 2017 report on August 22nd. The report noted there was a total of $16.8 billion in patented medicines sold in Canada in 2017. That was a 7.6% increase in sales compared to 2016 ($15.6 billion).

The median price for patented drugs for 2017 was $5,728 and the weighted average was $16,359.

Fig1 PMPRB price average

The 2 top selling drugs were Remicade and Humira, which are used to treat various auto-immune diseases.

PMPRB Table 1

Surprisingly, the majority of patented medicines were not drugs that dramatically changed the landscape. As shown in the figure below, 72.5% of medicines were reported to have no improvement or only a slight improvement in therapeutic benefit.

Fig2 PMPRB breakthru

When comparing these prices to other countries, Canada is performing fairly well.

Fig3 PMPRB price other countries

While the PMPRB has performed well in keeping the price of patented medicines down, Canadian researchers are paying the price.  In 2017, pharmaceutical companies spent $871.4 million on research and development in Canada. In the 1990s, research accounting for over 10% of revenue but that has dropped to 4.1% in 1017. And compared to other countries, that percentage is significantly lower (see figure below comparing 2000 to 2015 ratios).

Fig4 PMPRB other countries RD

To see the full report, go to