Canada Ranks Near the Bottom of Developed Countries In Providing Public Access to New Drug Treatments, Says New International Study



    TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - A first of its kind comprehensive study
by Wyatt Health Management shows that Canada ranks near the bottom of
developed countries when it comes to providing access to new drug therapies
for its most vulnerable citizens including seniors and low income families.
    "It is surprising that Canada ranks so low in comparison to these OECD
countries," said George Wyatt, author of the Wyatt Health International
Comparison. "This study raises several questions about limited access to and
choice of medicines and the overall effect this has on the quality of coverage
Canadians are receiving from their publicly funded drug plans."
    Public drug plans were developed so that patients, especially seniors and
lower income families can get access to medicine and drug treatments.
Approximately 10 million Canadians rely on public drug plans to treat cancer,
heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental illness, HIV/AIDS and many other
conditions.
    
    The 2007 Wyatt Health International Comparison Study findings include:

    - Canada ranks 17 out of 18 countries on public spending on
      pharmaceuticals
    - In a comparison of 36 new drugs evaluated for public drug plan
      reimbursement by all countries, Canada's public drug plans ranked 16
      out of 18, providing less coverage than all countries except Australia
      and New Zealand
    - In an analysis of 36 new drugs common to all jurisdictions studied,
      Canada's Common Drug Review (CDR) recommended only 61% of drugs for
      public drug plan reimbursement, far less than the averages of the
      European Union (EU) (91%) and USA (88%). Provincial formulary decisions
      further reduce the Canadian drug listing average
           - Of 78 recommendations issued from the inception of the CDR (in
             2003) to the end of 2007, Canada's Common Drug Review has given
             positive recommendations only 46% of the time, even lower than
             the percentage quoted in the study
    - Wait times for approval of priority review and orphan drugs to treat
      rare disorders are longer in Canada than the USA and the EU
    - The United States Medicare plan extends catastrophic drug coverage for
      seniors far beyond what is available to Canadian patients
    

    "As Canadians go to the polls, the question we need to ask our
politicians is whether those who rely on public drug plans in Canada are
getting access to the innovative drugs they need," added Mr Wyatt. "Right now,
I would have to say the answer is no."

    The 2007 Wyatt Health International Comparison Study

    The first of its kind study conducted research on the public drug plans
and pharmaceutical spending of 18 OECD countries. The study compares Canada's
public drug plan coverage for a mutual list of drugs that have been reviewed
by the Canadian Expert Drug Advisory Committee (CEDAC) of the Common Drug
Review (CDR) and the other 17 OECD countries. Since its inception in 2003, the
CDR has made recommendations on 78 new drugs. Information gathered for the
purposes of this study represents best publicly available information as of
April 2008.
    The authors trust that this study will help generate ideas from around
the world about ways to improve patient access to new therapies under Canada's
public drug plans. This study demonstrates that Canada is not keeping pace
with other countries, and poses the question whether other systems provide
useful models to reform and modernize Canada's public drug plans.

    About Wyatt Health Management

    The study was conducted by Wyatt Health Management, one of Canada's
leading pharmaceutical health policy firms. The firm provides analysis for
governments, NGOs and industrial sectors about latest trends in
pharmaceuticals and health care.
    A copy of the study can be found at: www.wyatthealth.com




For further information:

For further information: David Rodier, NATIONAL Public Relations, (613)
233-1699 X 243, (613) 884-2215, drodier@national.ca

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