Generic and Biosimilar Pricing Policies for Canadian Public Drug Plans

This reference document summarizes (a) provincial generic pricing policies implemented between 2010 and 2015 and (b) the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance policies on generics and biosimilars initiated beginning in 2013. The tables are updated annually.

Table 1. Provincial generic pricing policies, generic prices as a percentage of the brand-name price, 2010 to 2015
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
British Columbia October 15:
50% existing generics
42% new generics
July 4:
40% all generics
April 2:
35% all generics
April 1:
25% most generics
April 1:
 20% most generics

All other generic non-oral solid forms are priced at 35% of the brand-name list price since April 1, 2014.

 
Alberta April 1:
56% existing generics
45% new generics
  July 1:
35% all generics
May 1:
18%
April 1:
Lowest available price for existing generics; tiered pricing for new generics: 
70% one generic
50% two generics
25% three generics
18% four or more generics
 
Saskatchewan   April 1:
40% new generics

May 1 and June 1: 
45% existing generics

April 1 and October 1:
35%
 generics in former Standing Offer Contract categories
April 1: 
35%
    April 1:
25% for oral solids 35% for other forms
Manitoba Generic drug pricing is subject to utilization management agreements with the manufacturers, which declare that the price of a generic is equal to that of other select provinces.
Ontario July 1:
25%* public
50% private & out-of-pocket
April 1:
25%* public
35% private and out-of-pocket
April 1:
25%* public, private and out-of-pocket
    May 15:
Tiered pricing for generics†
Quebec Quebec requires that generic manufacturers provide the province with the lowest price available in other provinces.
New Brunswick     June 1: 40%
December 1: 35%
June 1: 25% for solid oral forms 35% for non-solid oral forms    
Nova Scotia   July 1: 45% January 1: 40%
July 1: 35%
  November 12: 
25% solid oral form
35% for non-solid oral form
 
Prince Edward Island     July 1: 35% December 1: 25%    
Newfoundland and Labrador     April 1: 45%
October 1: 40%
April 1: 35%
July 1: 25%
--  

*Generic pricing policies apply to oral solid forms; all others are 35%.
†Changes to regulations applicable to generics listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Formulary on or after April 1, 2013.

Table 2. pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance initiatives
  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Generic price reductions compared to brand reference price* April 1: 6 of the most common generic drugs are reduced to 18% of the brand reference price April 1: 4 additional common generic drugs are reduced to 18% of the brand reference price for a total of 10 April 1: 4 additional common generic drugs are reduced to 18% of the brand reference price for a total of 14 April 1: 4 additional common generic drugs are reduced to 18% of the brand reference price for a total of 18 April 1: One‐year bridging period during which the price 6 molecules are further reduced to 15% of the brand reference price April 1: Prices of nearly 70 of the most commonly prescribed drugs are reduced by 25%40%, resulting in up to 90% off the price of their brand‐name equivalents
Tiered Pricing Framework  
  • Tier 1 (single source) – one generic: 85% of brand reference price if a Product Listing Agreement (PLA) does not exist for the brand product; 75% if there is a PLA
  • Tier 2 (dual source) – two generics: 50% of brand reference price
  • Tier 3 (multi source) – three or more generics: 25% of brand reference price for oral solids; 35% for non-oral solids
Biosimilars       April 1: Issued the First Principles for Subsequent Entry Biologics to guide negotiations    

Note: After April 1, 2013, the general provincial generic pricing policies no longer apply to the drugs subject to the 18% pricing policy as per the Council of the Federation.

*Molecules under the 18% rule by date of implementation:

  • April 1, 2013: atorvastatin, ramipril, venlafaxine, amlodipine, omeprazole and rabeprazole.
  • April 1, 2014: rosuvastatin, pantoprazole, citalopram, and simvastatin.
  • April 1, 2015: clopidogrel, gabapentin, metformin, and olanzapine.
  • April 1, 2016: donepezil HCl, ezetimibe, quetiapine, and zopiclone.

Molecules further reduced to 15%

  • April 1, 2017: atorvastatin, amlodipine, simvastatin, pantoprazole, ramipril, clopidogrel.
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