Amid ongoing criticism of discount cards for prescription medicines, a new study finds these marketing tools increased costs for private insurers in Canada by 46% because patients were not motivated to pursue lower-cost generics.

The analysis examined 2.8 million prescriptions for 89 different drugs for which brand-name discount cards were available between September 2014 and September 2017. Of nearly 940,000 claims filed with private insurers, $69.4 million was paid out compared with roughly $47.7 million for a mix of equivalent generics, a difference of $21.7 million, or 46%. For each prescription, this amounted to an extra $23.09.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT Plus and enjoy your first 30 days free!


What is it?

STAT Plus is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • Online intelligence briefings
  • Frequent opportunities to engage with veteran beat reporters and industry experts
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy