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As Canadians brace for new rules to address prescription drug spending, a government report found sales of patented medicines rose a “modest” 3.5% in 2019 and that prices were stable, but a growing number of increasingly expensive, specialized treatments are driving overall costs higher.

Such medicines — such as biologics and cancer therapies — now account for approximately half of all sales of patented medicines in the country, a “dramatic” increase from 10% less than a decade ago, the report found. In 2009, only one of the top 10 selling patented medicines cost more than $1,000 a year. By 2019, seven of the top 10 had annual treatment costs exceeding $10,000 annually.

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