Rx&D responds to PMPRB report: overall impact of medicines must always be considered

OTTAWA, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ - Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) acknowledges the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board's (PMPRB) newly released report on Cost Drivers of Public Drug Plans in Canada. Rx&D notes that, according to the report, the rates of change in drug costs have been steadily declining in recent years, reaching a low of -0.8 percent in 2012/13 for a number of select public drug plans. But Rx&D cautions that any study that examines the costs of medicines without considering their overall impact on the system and how they factor in comparison to other costs could lead to inaccurate perspectives or analyses.

"The overall cost of medicines to the public drug plan is now at a negative rate of growth, an all-time low. This level of information and the identification of trends in the public drug plan is valuable information for decision makers," said Russell Williams, President, Rx&D. "But innovative medicines have a huge role to play in the sustainability of our healthcare system. The value of medicines cannot be measured in dollars alone."

According to a 2012 study by Frank R. Lichtenberg from Columbia University, life expectancy is significantly higher in countries that have access to, and use, newer medications. An earlier study from the same author concluded that investing in innovative medicines saves money elsewhere in the healthcare system by a significant margin. The study found that for every $1 spent on new medicines, non-medication expenses dropped by more than $7.  

"Not only do new innovations in medicines and vaccines save lives, but they contribute to healthcare system sustainability," added Mr. Williams.

The PMPRB reports that medicines accounted for only 74.4 percent of the total cost of the 8 public drug plans studied. The balance was attributed to pharmacy dispensing fees (21.4 percent) and price markups (4.2 percent). The medicines costs include co-payments by patients; on average, the public drug plans paid for 82 percent of the costs with co-payments or third party insurance accounting for the remaining 18 percent.

About Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies

Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies is the national association representing the voice of Canada's innovative pharmaceutical industry. We serve our membership by advocating for policies that enable the discovery, development and delivery of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve the lives of all Canadians. We support our memberships' commitment to being a valued partner in the Canadian healthcare system. We represent more than 50 companies investing over $1-billion in R&D annually, fuelling Canada's knowledge-based economy, while contributing over $3-billion overall to Canada's economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, we work with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.


SOURCE Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)

For further information: Sarah Douglas, Media Relations, Rx&D, Telephone: 613-236-0455 extension 525, E-mail: sdouglas@canadapharma.org


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