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Why Are Medications Cheaper in Canada?

Ever wonder why medications are cheaper in Canada than the United States? This infographic explains why drug prices are higher in the US than other industrialized countries.



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Why are medications cheaper in Canada?



The sale of prescription drugs in Canada is controlled by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which ensures that consumers are not paying excessive prices for medications. The review board controls the price of patented prescription drugs by mandating that:

  • the cost of existing medications cannot rise higher than the rate of inflation
  • new drugs cannot cost more than the median price in other countries
  • new medications cannot cost more than similar medications for the same illness


Every industrialized country has some form of price control except for the United States. Meanwhile, Americans buy more than 2 million packages of prescription drugs annually.

Drug companies spend $4.8 billion every year on advertising in the United States. The U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising.

Consumers can save money on medications by following these tips:

  • switch to generic brands
  • ask about special offers
  • switch to medications provided at a lower cost with insurance
  • use a mail-order pharmacy
  • talk to your doctor about cutting higher-dose pills in half
  • make sure all of your prescriptions are necessary


Price comparisons for drugs in Canada and the U.S.:

Lipitor
$310.69 (US)
$108.00 (Canada)

Zoloft
$262.00 (US)
$108.00 (Canada)

Paxil*
$274.32 (US)
$31.00 (Canada)

Celexa*
$252.77 (US)
$31.00 (Canada)

Plavix*
$403.88 (US)
$34.00 (Canada)

Nexium*
$479.15 (US)
$59.45 (Canada)

Prevacid*
$456.22 (US)
$49.00 (Canada)

*Generic brands
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