OTTAWA — Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has put a six-month pause on new regulations designed to lower the cost of patented medicines in Canada.
Health Canada first announced the changes in 2019 to protect Canadians from excessive drug prices, but the government has repeatedly delayed implementing the rules.
The regulations were supposed to come into force at the beginning of January, but are now postponed until July 1, 2022.
Duclos says in a statement that the newest delay will allow the industry, government and other players in the drug distribution system to focus efforts on fighting the pandemic.
Health Canada expects the amendments would save Canadians billions of dollars on patented drugs.
Life-sciences groups, patient advocates and drug companies have called on the minister to reconsider the changes entirely over fears a steep drop in the price of drugs could make Canada an unattractive place to launch life-saving new therapies.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2022.
Laura Osman, The Canadian Press