New drug price regulations could save Canada billions of dollars: PBO report

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The parliamentary budget officer says changes to the way Canada sets drug prices could lower spending on patented drugs by about seven per cent over the long term and save billions of dollars.

Health Canada first announced in 2019 that the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board would change how it sets a price cap on medicines in Canada in an effort to lower excessively expensive drug costs by changing the countries Canada compares prices with.

The changes are expected to come into effect on July 1, after being pushed back four times during the pandemic.

The PBO says in a newly released report that if the changes had been in place in 2018, Canada would have spent 19 per cent less, representing about $2.8 billion.

The government had initially planned several other regulatory changes to lower the cost of drugs but stood them down after they were successfully challenged in court.

The move to change the comparator countries has engendered resistance from industry and patient groups who worry the changes will impact access to new drug therapies in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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