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Take an in-depth look at prescribed drug spending in Canada and learn more about how different drug classes contribute to current trends in total public drug spending.

Key findings

  • In 2017, $14.5 billion (42.7%) of prescribed drug spending will be financed by the public sector.
  • Tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitors (anti-TNF drugs), used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, continue to account for the highest proportion of public drug spending.
  • Anti-TNF drugs and the new hepatitis C drugs were the top 2 contributors to growth in 2016, accounting for 20.8% and 12.6% of growth in public spending, respectively.
  • Canadians with drug costs of $10,000 or more represented 2% of beneficiaries but accounted for one-third of public drug spending in 2016.

See media release

Report and companion materials


How much is spent on Canada’s public drug programs?

View report (PDF)

View archive of past reports

Drug spending at a glance

How much do Canadians spend on drugs? Learn more about drug spending at a glance.

Data tables

Top 100 drug classes

What are the top 100 drug classes by rate of use and total program spending in Canada?

International comparisons of prescribed drug spending

How much do other countries spend, and how does their public drug program’s share of total spending compare with Canada’s?

Methodology notes

Definitions, data sources, limitations and revisions to help you understand and interpret the analysis in the report

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