Big Pharma In Canada Offers C$1B In Last Attempt To Stop Drug Pricing Crackdown

The pharmaceutical industry has delivered a C$1 billion ($761 million) proposal to the Canadian government in an attempt to stave off an upcoming price crackdown, Reuters reported on Sunday, based on documents the news agency has reviewed.

What Happened: The industry offered to spend C$1 billion dollar ($761 million) over the next 10 years on developing ways to improve access to drugs for rare diseases and to improve local manufacturing and commercialization.

The drug pricing regulations, to go in effect on Jan. 1, threaten the industry’s growth, pharmaceutical companies say. They say the uncertainty and complex cost-benefit analysis the new rules will bring about will discourage them from developing new drugs in the country.

Why It Matters: Under the new rules, Canada's Patented Medicine Prices Review Board will be able to review the cost effectiveness of new drugs and the impact they might have on government budgets.

The board will no longer use the United States and Switzerland as a benchmark to set some maximum prices and will take other countries with lower prices into consideration.

“The position of the Government of Canada remains unchanged — Canada has among the highest patented medicine prices in the world, and these high prices negatively affect the ability of patients to access new medicines,” said the health minister office in a statement. 

What's Next: Canada’s pharmaceutical lobby group, Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC), said it had a meeting with the minister of health and provided a written proposal but has received no answer so far. 

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