PMPRB Continues to Mislead Canadians on the Value of Innovative Medicines

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Press Release

Ottawa, ON – Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC) is once again disappointed by the inaccurate and misleading information on the value of innovative medicines in the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s (PMPRB) 2021 Annual Report. Given the PMPRB’s ongoing lack of recognition of the research-based pharmaceutical sector’s role in the health outcomes of Canadians and its contribution to the economy, IMC calls on the Canadian Government to immediately suspend the current abbreviated and inadequate PMPRB draft Guidelines consultation process, and replace it with a whole-of-government approach.

In 2021, Canadian prices remained in the middle of PMPRB’s basket of comparator counties, with median international prices being 12 per cent higher than Canadian prices. The PMPRB’s latest report notes that “prices for existing medicines are fairly stable”, which suggests that innovative medicines sold in Canada are not excessively priced and are not materially increasing in comparison to the Consumer Price Index.

PMPRB also consistently underestimates industry R&D spending through the use of a flawed and outdated definition from 1987. Based on the latest Statistics Canada report using modern criteria, the Canadian research-based pharmaceutical industry invested over $2.2 billion in research and development (R&D) in 2019, up 13 per cent from the previous year, contributed $15 billion to the economy, and supported over 100,000 high-value jobs every year. Using this data, the R&D to sales ratio for the sector can be estimated at 8.8 per cent, significantly higher than the PMPRB’s assessment.

To ensure Canadians get better access to new medicines, the Government of Canada must suspend the current PMPRB Guidelines consultation and replace it with a whole-of-government approach. This broader consideration would allow for a proper and thorough impact assessment of the revised Guidelines on Canadian access to innovative medicines. This comprehensive approach would also include consideration of the negative consequences of the revised PMPRB Guidelines on other important federal government health sector priorities, such as Canada’s National Strategy for Drugs for Rare Diseases and the Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy.

About Innovative Medicines Canada

Innovative Medicines Canada is the national association representing the voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. The association advocates for policies that enable the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve the lives of all Canadians and supports the members’ commitment to being a valued partner in the Canadian healthcare system. The association represents 50 companies who invest nearly $1.4 billion in R&D annually, fueling Canada’s knowledge-based economy, while contributing $8 billion to Canada’s economy. Guided by the Code of Ethical Practices, all members work with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

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For further information:

Marise Varanda
Director, Media Relations & Content
Telephone: 613-462-5367


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