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Prescription drug spending reaches $29.4B in Canada

CBC News · Posted: Dec 16, 2016 4:59 PM ET | Last Updated: December 17, 2016

Specialized medications, such as biologics and antivirals (such as those used to treat hepatitis C) are putting significant pressure on both public and private drug programs.

The growth in health spending in Canada is slow overall, but public-sector spending on prescription drugs has increased, according to two new reports.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information's (CIHI) overview of health expenditures from 1975 to 2016 showed the rate of growth of total health expenditure this year is expected to be 2.7 per cent.

In comparison, public drug program spending increased 9.2 per cent from 2014 to 2015.

Spending on prescribed drugs reached $29.4 billion in 2014, up 2.8 per cent from the year before.

In 2014, about 43 per cent of prescribed drug spending, or $12.5 billion, was paid for by the public purse to fund drug subsidy programs and social security plans such as workers compensation boards.

Private insurers, such as employee supplementary health benefits, and indiv