Twenty-eight Canadian patient organizations, representing a wide range of patients with medical conditions, are leading a united voice to the Minister of Health and Health Canada to halt the current review of drug pricing in Canada. The organizations believe that advancing the current proposed drug pricing reforms under the mandate of the Patented Medicines Review Board (PMPRB) may well, ultimately, hurt patients and cause a substantial impact on access to new medicines and research investments that provide access to clinical trials in Canada.
In its most recent submission to Health Canada, the patient organizations identified three key areas where Canada may be, unconsciously, on the brink of creating a second-class health system, including:
- Impact on Patients – Canada has one of the highest percentages of new drugs worldwide. The pharmaceutical industry has stated that any changes that substantially impact revenues may consequently affect the number of future new drugs to come into Canada, or may result in significantly longer delays in the launch of new drugs. If this did occur, it would not only hurt the patients relying on the public drug reimbursement system, but also the patients with private plans and even those who wish to buy the drugs themselves.
- Impact on Health Outcomes – Many new drugs approved in Canada lead to more positive health outcomes for patients. For example, the rate of premature cancer has declined since the launch of new breakthrough medications.
- Impact on Research and Clinical Trials – With lower drug prices, companies may decide to invest research budgets elsewhere, thus reducing the number of clinical trials available to Canadian patients. Currently many diagnosed patients have opportunities to be treated with leading-edge therapies before they become widely available.
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