Health Canada announces changes aimed at dropping prices of patented drugs

Health Canada announces changes aimed at dropping prices of patented drugs

Health Canada announces changes aimed at dropping prices of patented drugs

Firstly, these amendments will change the "basket" of countries we compare ourselves to when setting drug prices, so that prices here are judged against countries that actually look like Canada in terms of population, economy and approach to health care.

Canadians pay the third highest drug prices in the world, just behind the United States.

Secondly, these changes will provide the PMPRB with the actual market price of medicines in Canada-rather than inflated list or "sticker" price-to more accurately assess whether a price is reasonable when setting a price ceiling.

Together, Ottawa estimates the changes will result in savings of $8.8 billion in 2019 dollars over the next 10 years, or $13.2 billion with inflation and other factors included.

The changes are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2020, and will apply to all new drugs that come on the market after that date.

On Friday, Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC), which represents the pharmaceutical industry, warned the changes could reduce investment in research and development and make companies less likely to launch their drugs in Canada.

The review board now has the tools and information it needs to meaningfully protect Canadian consumers from excessive prices, board chair Dr. Mitchell Levine said in a statement.

Patient advocacy groups, which often receive funding from the pharmaceutical industry, are raising similar concerns about what the changes will mean for prescription drug availability in Canada.

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"To me, the key question on any government initiative is - is this going to help or hurt patients get access to better therapies", he said.

The new features of the regulations, which take into account cost-effectiveness of medicines and their impact on government budgets, apply only to drugs approved by Health Canada after the rules are officially published later this month. But Durhane Wong-Rieger, president of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, fears that patients who need costly rare disease drugs may be among the hardest hit.

The government has argued many countries with lower prices have more pharmaceutical industry investment and access to drugs that meets or exceeds Canada's. "It's not necessary to do this". They will save money for patients, employers and insurers including the government at the expense of drug company profits. "We need to stop paying for everything at any price", he said.

According to the most recent data, Canada spends more on drugs per capita than any other OECD country except for the United States and Switzerland. It has also said it may start determining what the U.S. government healthcare programme Medicare pays for certain medicines based on prices in some other countries, including Canada.

A Liberal government advisory panel recommended the implementation of a national, single-payer pharmacare system in its final report released earlier this year.

Their report calls for the creation of a new drug agency that would draft a national list of prescription medicines that would be covered by the taxpayer, beginning with an initial list of common and essential drugs, by January 1, 2022.

Jane Philpott, Petitpas Taylor's predecessor in the portfolio, announced in May 2017 the government was embarking on a series of consultations on a suite of proposed regulatory changes related to the drug prices board.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party appears poised to make its own proposal for a national plan a central component of its election campaign, dismissed Friday's announcement as little more than a stall tactic.

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