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Another six months has been added to the federal government’s timeline for changes to Canada’s drug pricing. This is not the second, but the third time this timeline has been extended. It will now be January 1, 2022 when the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board changes their regulations on how they go about ensuring that new drugs are reasonably priced. Patty Hajdu, Health Minster, made this announcement Tuesday. The announcement was described as an attempt to allow pharmaceutical companies a chance to prepare for any changes that will occur.
This enactment was a result of over 35 executives from pharmaceutical companies mailed letters to the Prime Minister. These letters had explained how the recent pandemic had not allowed the new regulations to be talked about or expressed the level of impact that the regulations would have on the level of innovation and the accessibility of drugs in Canada.
Innovative Medicines Canada released a statement on their website that they’re grateful for the recent delay as it creates an opportunity to come up with other solutions in accordance with new restrictions and guidelines. Additionally, other impacts that will result from recent global occurrences are able to be explored in this time delay. There is also evidence that the regulations will have negative effects on Canada and the drug industry. Michelle Rempel Garner, a health critic says that the new regulations should be reevaluated for this reason and explains how the middle of a pandemic is not a good time for the release of additional regulations.
Although, Canadians currently pay some of the steepest prices for medicines that are still protected by patents. For this reason, a few advocacy groups for patients have said that these regulations might actually be required as they’re supposed to reduce the prices of drugs by over $12 billion during the next ten years. Among some of the companies who are providing vaccines for Canada in relation to Covid-19, many of which who believe that the pandemic may have been utilized to persuade Ottawa to lean away from the regulation implementation, explained Don Davies, a health critic for the NDP.
The pharmaceutical companies have tried to warn the Prime Minister that the regulations could destroy the effort of attempting the rebuild of the domestic pharmaceutical industry. This industry has recently been relying more so on foreign countries for the Coronavirus vaccine production.
Davies also compares Canada to many other countries, explaining that pushing the regulations that would save many people who utilize medical pharmaceuticals money would be not be a good move for Canada. A professor stationed at Dalhousie University known as Sharon Batt mentions how Canada could benefit greatly from a pharma care plan. She mentioned how it is extremely overdue and that an effort toward some sort of pharma care plan for Canada would help those who require drugs that may not be as affordable for some people, especially for drugs that would be required more essential. These regulations were first implemented around November of 2019 by PMPRB. They have been revised and pushed back multiple times for various consultation periods and have now been set to be implemented for January 1, 2022.