Spending on drugs has become a target for cost-containment measures because of its continual growth, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of overall healthcare expenditures. However, considering drug spending in isolation from other healthcare components neglects the benefit of drugs to Canada's healthcare system, society and economy. Drugs, when used appropriately as part of overall disease management, have increased life expectancy and quality of life, have avoided more costly alternatives such as hospitalisation and surgery, and have decreased worker absenteeism and increased their productivity. Current evidence suggests that drugs represent good value for money and are an integral part of a cost-effective and sustainable healthcare system. Cost-containment measures should focus on appropriate use of medications and improving adherence to therapeutic regimens for optimal patient outcomes.
Comment In: Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2005 Winter;12(1):e22-716055941