Letters to the editor: Re: ‘A Cure For Canada’s High Drug Prices’

Re A Cure For Canada’s High Drug Prices (Aug. 13): The Globe and Mail compares the Liberals’ redesign of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board to renovations on a house, with the PMPRB being the health-care system’s “plumbing.” The analogy is apt, but the conclusion that the changes are reasonable is wrong.

Other jurisdictions regulate prices in the context of pharmacare programs, which come with access for patients. (Disclosure: My association’s membership includes pharmaceutical companies.) The PMPRB provides no guarantee of access to medicines, which is the jurisdiction of provinces, employers and individuals.

The PMPRB is now mandated to determine what any Canadian is willing to pay for new medicines.

Case studies indicate the quasi-judicial body may ratchet prices down by 40 per cent, 70 per cent and potentially over 90 per cent for rare disease medicines. The restrictive Canadian market will effectively delay or deny access to new medicines for Canadians.

While other jurisdictions leverage pharmacare systems to secure patient access to new medicines using pay-for-performance and other innovative agreements, Canada has duct-taped our 30-year-old plumbing.

The renovated PMPRB relic will limit Canadian access to the pipeline of medical advances in gene therapies, cancer treatments and vaccines.

Jason Field, CEO, Life Sciences Ontario, Toronto

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