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Why Patients Are in the #Fight for Our Lives
Breaking News! Innovative medicines will change how we treat life-threatening diseases – forever. New medicines will cure cancer, restore eyesight, grow new bones, prevent heart attacks and kidney failure, replace blood cells, and repair and replace faulty genes.
Good News! Those new medicines are transforming patient lives across the globe – today!
Frightening News! Canadian patients might not access these new medicines – not today and maybe never. Changes proposed by Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board are the biggest barriers to new drugs coming to Canada, including breakthrough, lifesaving, life-altering, first-ever treatments for rare and common conditions.
Rising Drug Budgets – Good or Bad News?
Good News! Thanks to new medicines, people are living longer with chronic conditions (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV) that were once fatal; people with rare diseases have first-ever therapies; cell and gene therapies cure diseases but have one-time high upfront costs.
Bad News! Drug budgets designed for older 20th century medicines have not been updated to 21st century innovative therapies; siloed drug funding does not offset reductions in other healthcare costs (emergency care, disability, organ failure); collaborative, innovative drug financing solutions have not been implemented.
New PMPRB Regulations will Harm Patients
In response to concerns about rising drug budgets, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has stepped away from its legally mandated role to review drug prices to ensure they are not excessive—to a self-designated role to set drug prices with a two-pronged process.
First, list price of drugs cannot be higher than the median price of 11 comparative countries. Not unreasonable and not likely to stop drugs from being brought to Canada.
Second, the PMPRB proposes to restrict the actual selling price of all new medicines to a single arbitrary standard, without regard for severity of condition, unmet need or the added benefits over existing therapy. For about 80% of new medicines, this single arbitrary price, which was set with no evidence as to appropriateness, with no consultation as to impact on patients, and with no consensus among stakeholders as to feasibility, will be far below manufacturers’ cost of research, development and ongoing support. Not surprisingly, manufacturers have indicated they will not bring new medicines to Canada – perhaps after pricing has stabilized in other countries and perhaps never.
The big losers are the Canadian patients who will be deprived of critically needed medicines. Indeed, fearing the impact of the new drug price controls, manufacturers have already reduced clinical trials in Canada by about 40% for 2019 and at beginning of 2020, have announced withholding the launch of a half-dozen important new drugs, with more to come. Canadian patients are already being harmed.
Watch the #FightforourLives conference and videos from recent events