Drug quality and safety, as well as reliability of supply, must come first
MONTREAL, Dec. 9, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - With the government recently tabling Bill 81 "with the aim of reducing the cost of certain medications covered by the basic prescription drug insurance plan by allowing calls for tender," the Conseil pour la protection des malades (CPM – council for the protection of the ill) is concerned about patients' safety. The CPM recognizes the need to find fair and equitable drug prices but does not regard the tendering process as the best solution if the government bases its choice solely on the price offered by the lowest bidder.
A measure that creates insecurity
The CPM believes that centralizing a drug's volume in a single place and giving exclusive sales rights to one or two producers that may offer the lowest price threatens to adversely impact hundreds of thousands of Quebecers by forcing them to change drugs. Bill 81 could also deprive patients of the drug that suits them best and limit the pharmacist's role. "Pharmacists are losing another aspect of their professional independence, namely the power to select a drug that is appropriate for each patient's needs," CPM President Paul Brunet stated. "After lifting the ceiling on rebates, with Bill 20 and its ancillary fees, the government, through Bill 81 in its current form, now risks creating a wave of insecurity, especially among elderly people who will have trouble understanding why the drug they trusted will no longer qualify for reimbursement."
Problem of potential shortages
This measure also risks endangering patients' safety. "It's a fact that drug shortages have gotten worse since the 2000s," Mr. Brunet continued. "After the bidding process, if Quebec faces another shortage, who will be in a position to meet the demand for drugs and to ensure patients' safety? Patients must remain the priority, and this requires, above all, drug quality and safety, along with reliability of supply, while seeking the best price under these conditions."
According to the CPM, it would be dangerous to put the public and patients at risk with the sole aim of paying less. "It's easy to think this practice could bring Quebec substantial savings, but again we have to think of the healthcare system we wish to have for ourselves," Mr. Brunet said.
He added: "The CPM urges the government to ensure its draft legislation includes initial negotiation of lower prices for generic drugs directly with the companies, in order to obtain the best price first of all and let patients continue to take the drug they are accustomed to and that suits them, as well as to lower the risk of shortages substantially. Drug quality and safety, and reliability of supply, are fundamental. If negotiations fail, AS MENTIONED ABOVE, other alternatives could be CONSIDERED."
About the Conseil de la protection des malades
The CPM (council for the protection of the ill) is a private, non-profit organization that has been devoted for more than 40 years to protecting and defending the rights of users of the healthcare and social services network. The CPM brings together many users' and residents' committees at healthcare and social services institutions across the province.
SOURCE Conseil pour la protection des malades
For further information: Paul G. Brunet, M.A.P., President, CEO and Spokesperson, Cell: 514 592-0127; Conseil pour la protection des malades, 1000 Saint-Antoine Street West, Suite 403, Montreal, Quebec H3C 3R7, Telephone: 514 861-5922, Toll-free: 1877.CPM.AIDE, Fax: 514 861-5189, E-mail: email@example.com, Website: www.cpm.qc.ca; Marie-Christine Garon, 514 409-0031