Innovative Medicines Canada responds to release of interim report of the Advisory Council for the Implementation of National Pharmacare
Ottawa, March 6, 2019 – Today’s announcement on national pharmacare is an important step forward in closing coverage gaps for the 4.1 million Canadians1 who are uninsured and underinsured.
Innovative Medicines Canada agrees with the interim report’s core principles that all Canadians should have timely access to the choice of medicines they need to maintain and improve their health, regardless of income, age, or postal code.
In principle, our industry believes that the federal government can play an important role in improving universal access to medicines for Canadians by building on the strengths of our current system. We should recognize the value of the existing mixed public-private model built over the last 50 years and fix what is not working now.
As we wait for more details to be announced with the release of the final report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, Canadians should expect the proposed national formulary to mirror the highest standards of coverage among provinces and private payers, so that patients are still able to access the medicines they depend on today. It will also be important to learn more about how this policy proposal will impact Canadians who have comprehensive existing drug plans. This includes the 23 million Canadians with employer-sponsored drug plan coverage. No model of national pharmacare should result in a lower level of coverage for Canadians.
We look forward to hearing more about the proposal for a National Drug Agency, which has the potential to streamline Canada’s complex drug regulatory processes and should also shorten the time between when a new medicine is approved for use in Canada and when it is covered by a public drug plan.
We support the report’s recommendation to invest in drug data and information technology systems. These investments have the potential to improve prescribing practices and further strengthen patients’ standard of care across Canada.
A national pharmacare model will be judged by its ability to provide Canadians with timely access to medicines. That is why today’s announcement must be considered within the broader context of the regulatory changes being proposed to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB).
If implemented, these proposed changes risk reducing access to the latest treatments by discouraging and delaying new medicines from coming to Canada, if they come at all.
About Innovative Medicines Canada
Innovative Medicines Canada is the national voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. We advocate for policies that enable the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of all Canadians. We support our members’ commitment to being valued partners in the Canadian healthcare system.
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For further information:
Executive Director, Communications
- Conference Board of Canada, Understanding the Gap: A Pan-Canadian Analysis of Prescription Drug Insurance Coverage