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Donald Han
Edward C. Y. Wang


pharmaceuticals, drugs, cost-effectiveness, burden of illness, health care costs


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.

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