NPDUIS Research Agenda

The National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) is a research initiative established by federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Health in September 2001. It provides policy makers and public drug plan managers with critical analyses of price, utilization and cost trends so that Canada’s health care system has more comprehensive and accurate information on how prescription drugs are being used and on sources of cost pressures. 

The NPDUIS Research Agenda reflects the current analytical priorities identified by the NPDUIS Advisory Committee. The following reports are anticipated for completion and publication in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Annual publications


This annual NPDUIS report contains valuable information on the major factors driving prescription drug spending in public drug plans in Canada. It is a key resource for policy makers and researchers – highlighting factors relevant for understanding the sources of current cost pressures and potential future trends.

New Drug Pipeline Monitor 

This annual report provides a forward-looking lens into emerging drugs that have the potential to significantly impact treatment management in specific therapeutic classes in Canada. Each year approximately 10 new drugs in Phase III clinical trials or under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are selected for inclusion. A summary of the status of all drugs identified in previous editions is also included. This report aids in anticipating future drug launches and is of interest to Canadian and international audiences, including drug plan mangers, regulatory and health technology assessment bodies, researchers, and patients.

Meds Entry Watch

The top new drugs launched in Canadian and international markets are featured in this PMPRB publication that explores market entry dynamics from the perspective of availability, sales, launch sequence, market penetration, and price comparisons. This information supports policy makers and other stakeholders in anticipating the availability of new drug therapies and their associated cost pressures based on international experience.

Report series 

Market Intelligence Reports

This series provides detailed information on specific therapeutic market segments of importance to Canadians. These targeted analyses are designed to inform policy discussions, aid in evidence-based decision making, and provide Canadians with a more comprehensive view of issues pertaining to pharmaceutical drug pricing and utilization in Canada and internationally.

The first report in this series explored the market impact of biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Potential topics for future reports include newer drugs used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes and age-related macular degeneration. These analyses will highlight the uptake in utilization, market shares, pricing and treatment costs, and identify opportunities for potential cost savings.

Generics 360

This series monitors and reports on the latest developments in generic drug pricing and markets in Canada and compares them with those of other industrialized countries. It analyzes the issue of generic pricing in Canada from various angles, including reference brand-name prices, international generic prices, and market segmentation.

Private Drug Plans in Canada

This series of three reports analyzes trends in Canadian private drug plans, the second largest market for prescribed drugs in Canada, accounting for approximately one-third of all prescribed drug spending. The series provides policy makers and researchers with information on relevant trends, sources of cost pressures, and possible areas for cost-saving opportunities. The first report, published in 2015, focused on the generic market.

   Part 2 - Cost Driver Analysis: This report complements the analysis included in the CompassRx report by providing insight into the most important drivers of drug costs and dispensing fees in private drug plans. 

   Part 3 - High-Cost Drugs and Beneficiaries: This study focuses on the cost and utilization of high-cost drugs in private drug plans. 

Alignment Among Public Formularies in Canada

This three-part series compares the level of agreement among drug listings for the provincial and federal public formularies. The first report explores the general formularies for each plan, while the second and third reports focus on newer drugs and oncology drugs, respectively. The information contained in these reports will inform the dialog on issues related to national policy.

Focused research reports

Potential Savings from Biosimilars in Canada

This analysis targets biologic drugs with available biosimilars, as well as top-selling biologic drugs that are expected to lose market exclusivity over the next few years. Potential savings are estimated based on various scenarios of market entry, uptake and price discounts, as observed in Canadian (for existing biosimilars) and foreign markets. This analysis will contribute key information to the discussion related to the approval, pricing and reimbursement of biosimilar drugs, and aid in decision-making processes.

The NPDUIS Research Agenda is updated regularly in consultation with the NPDUIS Advisory Committee.

Analytical studies are based on approved research proposals developed in consultation with the NPDUIS Advisory Committee and interested stakeholders. Specific research proposals are available upon request, and any feedback provided will be considered during the development of the project.
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