Prescriptions for opioid treatment medication are on the rise in Canada, a sign the cost of the drugs is outpacing inflation.
The Canadian Association of Physicians (CAP) said in a recent report that prices of the medications have climbed 10 per cent over the past year and are outpacing increases in inflation.
“The price of a fentanyl-containing opioid has increased by more than 10 per for the past two years.
The price is now at or above its previous highs,” said CPP president and CEO Dr. Danita Kavanagh.
According to the group, there are roughly 500,000 opioid treatment prescriptions in Canada.
A total of 2.8 million doses of the opioid are prescribed in Canada each month.
The group says the average price of treatment medication is $17,971.
That is $1,000 more than the average cost of treatment in the United States, where the average is $8,926.
While the price of the medication is up, the cost is expected to decline over time, said Kavanag.
“We expect the price to fall substantially over the next few years, although we are forecasting a modest recovery in the coming years,” she said.
Dr. Christopher Cockerham, president of the Canadian Pain Society, said the increase in the cost may be due to the increasing number of Canadians who are suffering from chronic pain.
“This is a major public health issue that requires our attention and attention at all levels,” said Dr. Cockeram.
He said the rising cost of painkillers is an issue for patients with chronic pain because it increases their chances of getting an opioid addiction.
If you are concerned about the price or would like to talk to someone about it, contact your local pharmacy.
There is also the issue of fentanyl, which has been identified as a potential drug of abuse by federal health officials.
Experts are concerned that the medication has caused the deaths of more than 2,000 Canadians in recent months.
With files from CBC News’ Jennifer Tinsley.