At the same time, Canadian public drug plans are increasingly offloading costs to the private sector. managed care organizations. Relevance of Canada Lessons from drug benefit plans in Canada are relevant to the United States for four major reasons. The of growth of drug costs is similar in Canada and the United States. Expenditures have been rising more than 10 Forsythoside A percent per year for Forsythoside A more than a decade (Canadian Institute for Health Information 2003). Although the Canadian federal government’s Patent Medicine Prices Review Board has kept drug prices lower in Canada than in the United States, the board has been unable to stem the steadily rising introductory prices of many new drugs. Indeed, some new drugs cost more than C$10,000 per patient Rabbit Polyclonal to SLC25A12 per year, and numerous other expensive drugs are already in the pharmaceutical industry’s development pipeline. The growth of drug costs is so staggering, in fact, that it needs to be expressed in terms of daily In Canada, the speed of public expenditures on drugs accelerated from C$6.8 billion per year in 2002 to C$7.5 billion per year in 2003. That is a daily acceleration of almost C$2 million per day. Such daily increases in spending are what it would cost Canadian taxpayers to hire 15 to 20 physicians in permanent positions every day. In the United States, which is ten times more populous than Canada, the rate of drug cost growth is about the same as if 150 to 200 new physicians were hired every day. The relentless pressure of pharmaceutical innovation and marketing is forcing the United States and Canada to converge toward similar Forsythoside A systems of prescription drug coverage. With the MMA, the United States is moving to a more public-pay system. At the same time, Canadian public drug plans are increasingly offloading costs to the private sector. It is a textbook case of pass-the-buck economics. As costs rise, provincial drug plans are turning to patients for more money by raising deductibles and copayments. Many patients send claims for their extra costs to their private health insurance company. The insurers pay the claims and raise the rates they charge employers. The employers then pass the tab to their employees and Forsythoside A customers. In 2002, the Employer Committee on Health Care in Ontario and the Employer Committee on Health Care in Alberta stated, As a result of passive privatization and delisting of services in addition to rising costs of medical solutions, in particular prescription drugs, the affordability of employer sponsored plans are at risk (Bowyer and McQueen 2002, Forsythoside A 17). Both the U.S. and the Canadian health care systems have been forced to move money from health services finances to drug finances or to raise premiums and taxes. For example, in English Columbia, despite many millions of dollars saved from the Research Drug Program, the government had to increase the PharmaCare budget by C$90 million to protect the projected growth of drug costs in 2004 at the same time as it slice C$100 million out of the main budget category covering hospital and community health services (Authorities of English Columbia 2004). In Ontario, after encouraging in the 2003 election not to raise taxes, the newly elected Ontario authorities decided that it had to back down and cover its rising health care costs by reintroducing health care rates (Hurley 2004). Canadian provinces and voters have appealed for help from.