Twenty percent of plan members account for 80% of drug plan costs, with average annual costs of $3,409 compared to average annual costs of $210 for all other plan members.

These are among the findings in the Express Scripts Canada’s 2020 PRESCRIPTION DRUG TREND REPORT released in April. Overall, it reports a slow but steady increase in private drug plan spending in 2019. That’s expected to continue as more specialty drugs enter the market, including oral oncology drugs for which private plans are first payer. As well, new, higher-cost treatments for two major disease categories, diabetes and asthma, are expected to grow their share of the market.

The report also takes a closer look at biosimilar biologic drugs (including results from B.C.’s biosimilars switching program), the opioid crisis and non-adherence to medications for chronic diseases.


This article is part of The Benefits Alliance Take 5 for Health Benefits. Take 5 is a quarterly initiative that provides a deeper look a the employee benefits space by providing examples, research and case studies on what’s working for employers in Canada.