Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has revealed that sales of oncology medicines in Canada have nearly tripled over the past decade, reaching $3.9 billion in 2019, or approximately 15% of all pharmaceutical spending.
In addition, the market has shifted toward higher-cost drugs, as medicines with 28-day treatment costs exceeding $7,500 now account for more than half of overall Canadian oncology sales. In Canada’s private drug plans, these high-cost therapies made up 43% of oncology drug costs in 2019, compared to 17% in 2010.
This information is contained in a chartbook on the market for oncology medicines in Canada released by the Board today.
Per capita oncology sale in Canada remained below most comparator countries in 2019, though a recent rise in spending has narrowed the gap between Canadian and international levels.
Recent trends show a greater international alignment in the prices of oncology medicines, though Canadian prices continue to sit above those in comparator countries.
Over the last decade, the Canadian oncology market has shifted significantly towards higher-cost drugs. Medicines with 28-day treatment costs over $7,500 now account for more than half of all oncology sales in Canada, a sharp increase from 16% in 2010.
The Canadian oncology market is largely driven by new medicines, with medicines introduced after 2010 accounted for 58% of oncology sales in 2019, compared to 24% of non-oncology sales. Canadian availability for the top-selling new medicines in the OECD is in line with comparator countries.
High-cost oncology medicines account for a growing share of drug costs in Canada’s private drug plans. Shares differ greatly across jurisdictions, likely due to differences in public coverage for oral therapies, which now make up half of all oncology sales in Canada.