Canada could save in excess of $10bn on its annual healthcare bill should a universal prescription drug plan be adopted, according to a report.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says that the existing framework of private and public plans in the country is both inefficient and costly.

Universal pharmacare would lead to savings of $3bn a year within the remaining system, although this could increase to $10.7bn were Canada to cut all pharmaceutical industry privileges for drug costs.

Essentially, a national drug plan would allow governments to buy drugs in bulk and be the sole administrator, which would reduce administrative costs owed to private insurance, according to University of Toronto health policy analyst Dr Michael Rachlis.

The report also claims that Canada is in the top four most expensive countries for brand-name drugs each year, as a result of inflated drug prices designed to attract pharmaceutical investment.