Ottawa Cutting Billions Of Dollars From Patented Drugs

The federal government has announced final regulations that will cut billions of dollars from patented drug prices, a move that has angered pharmaceutical companies.

In what is being called the biggest reform to Canada’s drug price regime since 1987, Ottawa’s new rules will save Canadian consumers $13.2 billion over the next 10 years. The rules will save money for patients, employers and insurers, as well as Ottawa, at the expense of drug company profits.

The new rules are largely the same as they were in a December 2017 draft. They came after months of delay prompted speculation that the government would back down in the face of industry lobbying or simply run out of time before Canada’s election this October.

Canada will now change the list of countries the federal drug price regulator, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), compares domestic prices to, dropping the United States and Switzerland where prices are highest. It will also let the agency consider cost-effectiveness of new medicines.

The new rules also require drug makers to disclose some confidential discounts to the PMPRB, which sets maximum prices. Initially expected to take effect in January, the regulations were delayed so that Ottawa could review feedback. They will now go into force on July 1, 2020.