OTTAWA LAUNCHES CONSULTATIONS ON DRUG PRICES

May 16, 2017

By Bob Komsic

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Saying it wants to protect Canadians from high drug prices, the Trudeau government is looking to expand the ability of a federal board.
Health Minister Jane Philpott’s announcing consultations on a number of proposed regulatory changes related to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.
Created 30 years ago to ensure companies don’t use monopolies to charge high prices, Philpott says the board’s limited in its ability to protect consumers from excessive costs.
Philpott points out the board benchmarks Canadian prices against seven countries that have some of the highest prices in the world, including the U.S., where patented drugs cost twice as much as in this country.
The minister says Canadian drug spending has soared by 185% since 2000 as a share of Gross Domestic Product – faster than in all the comparison countries.
Online consultations run until June 28.
Ottawa’s hoping to have new regulations in place no later than the end of 2018.
The government’s also aiming to speed up how quickly patients can access new medications.
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