Philpott's Drug Pricing Changes in the Right Direction but the Devil is in the Details

OTTAWA, May 16, 2017 /CNW/ - Federal Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott's announcement today at the Economic Club of Canada on "improving affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of drugs in Canada," may well have a profound impact on drug prices in the country.

Louise Binder has been analyzing this issue for years on behalf of patient groups. She is a Health Policy Consultant with Save Your Skin Foundation, a national patient-led advocacy group supporting skin cancer patients and a co-founding member of the Drug Pricing Policy Working Groups, brought together after the 2016 Drug Pricing Policy Summit co-sponsored by Save Your Skin Foundation, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and Canadian Cancer Survivor Network.

Dr. Philpott announced today the following important drug pricing policy changes:

  • The Patent Act Regulations that define the process for regulating the wholesale prices for patented drugs being sold in Canada will be reviewed including a consultation process to find a list of countries that is more appropriate for Canada to consider in determining excessive drug prices. New Regulations will be in place by the end of 2018.
  • The Federal government will work with Provinces and Territories to enhance the joint public drug negotiation process, the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA), with an announcement of details in the coming weeks.
  • The Federal government will look to reduce unnecessary prescribing and a seamless e-prescription system will be developed.
  • The Federal government will enhance the use of real world evidence (RWE) to determine the value of medicines to Canadians.
  • The Federal government will continue to consult with the Provinces and Territories to develop a common drug formulary that will ensure equitable access and better prices for drugs across Canada.
  • The Federal government will help to reduce unnecessary barriers to innovation by streamlining the drug review process at the Federal level.

Binder said of the announcement, "Patients requiring effective but high cost drugs for life threatening conditions, including oncology, certainly support steps to moderate prices and ensure access to all people in Canada who need them. As always, the devil is in the details. We are pleased that the Minister committed to meaningful patient engagement at every step in the process."

"Myeloma patients support this direction. We trust that savings will go directly back into the health care system to enhance further innovation in healthcare and access to necessary treatments," said Martine Elias, the Director of Access, Advocacy and Community Relations at Myeloma Canada and a member of the Drug Pricing Policy Working Groups. "We also want to ensure that research and innovation of new drugs continue in Canada."

The many patient organizations participating in the Drug Pricing Policy Working Groups encourage relevant stakeholders to reconsider the way we measure the value of potential lifesaving drugs, enhance drug access in Canada and address high priced pharmaceuticals.

SOURCE Save Your Skin Foundation

For further information: Louise Binder, louise.binder@rogers.com, 416-457-3179; Lia Iapaolo, lia@saveyourskin.ca, 514-208-0204

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