February 14, 2023 - Press Release: Pharmaceutical investor Thomas Digby is the wrong person to head Canada’s drug price control agency
December 5, 2022 - IVSED's latest submission to PMPRB's Consultation on new Draft Guidelines. Click HERE for full submission.
IVSED strongly supported efforts to strengthen the guidelines used by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and we are disappointed that the strongest reforms have largely been abandoned.
We also supported the process of consultation undertaken by the PMPRB, which we believe was fair, transparent, and democratic; we are dismayed that parties opposed to the proposed changes used aggressive covert tactics to subvert the process and derail the reforms.
The PMPRB’s price regulation function is essential and should be retained.
The federal government should put in place a sunshine act that includes patient groups so that industry funding of these groups is visible to the public.
The government should conduct a thorough study of the accountability rules governing charitable and non-profit organizations that speak on pharmaceutical policy and regulatory issues and take steps to reinforce the line between for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.
The government should provide public funding to patient and health consumer advocacy groups that adhere to a strict Code of Conduct.
For more information, please contact Sharon Batt (H) 902-423-4679/ (C) 902-329-3072
The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB), a Canadian quasi-governmental protection agency, was created in 1987 to regulate prescription drug prices. Rapidly escalating prescription drug prices are a global concern; they put pressure on health care systems and cause many people to go without drugs they need. Despite PMPRB’s efforts, Canadian drug prices remain among the highest in the world. IVSED’s submission was among the few submitted by community-based organizations not funded or supported by pharmaceutical companies.
IVSED strongly supports the mandate of the PMPRB in terms of researching, monitoring and setting price ceilings for patented drugs. Canada’s patented drug prices are the third highest among OECD countries and much of this cost burden is carried by 23% of Canadians who pay out of pocket for their medications. The high cost of patented medicines not only affects patients directly but also draws money out of the health care system that could be used to enhance access to medically necessary health care services that are vital to Canadians.
In addition to these direct opportunity costs, unseen ripple effects have an impact on access to prescription medicines. For example, high drug costs are pushing insurance premiums up and extended health benefits out the door. Up to 80% of the cost of extended health benefits are going to pharmaceuticals, and as drug costs increase many small and mid-sized employers have cancelled coverage. Both public and private employers have moved to outsourcing, contract and part-time jobs to avoid the high costs of employer-funded health benefit plans. One group that has felt the full weight of cancelled benefits are seniors: a majority of employers no longer provide benefits to retirees at all.
We support many of the regulatory amendments proposed by the PMPRB, including benchmarking prices against countries more akin to Canada, requiring information from the pharmaceutical industry about actual prices (including rebates and discounts) paid in Canada, and incorporating a pharma-economic lens to determine the therapeutic value of drugs in the context of other public health needs. We believe that these amendments lend positive support to plans for a National Pharmacare program which will need access to fairly priced essential medicines.
April 24, 2020 - IVSED's initial response to PMPRB proposed guidelines. Click HERE
May 10, 2019 - Letter to PM Trudeau: Changes to PMPRB Needed. Click HERE.
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