Calgary Herald

Canada to delay drug price reforms by six months: group


TORONTO • Canada has delayed the implementa­tion of new drug price rules that had been due to go into effect on Friday by six months, the pharmaceut­ical industry’s main lobby group said on Wednesday.

The pharmaceut­ical industry has fought the new regime, meant to reduce patented drug prices that are among the highest in the world, for years.

“The middle of a global pandemic is not the time to implement measures that will distract from the fight against COVID-19,” said Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC), which represents major drugmakers in Canada.

“This delay provides the time and the opportunit­y for government to work closely with industry, patients and other health system stakeholde­rs on a better path forward.”

The rules are now set to go into effect on July 1, 2021, according to IMC. Health Canada did not immediatel­y comment.

Reuters reported in November that industry had made a last-ditch $1 billion proposal to the federal government in hopes of fending off parts of the crackdown. The government said its position had not changed.

The regulation­s change which countries Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) uses as a benchmark to set some maximum drug prices. The PMPRB will drop the United States and Switzerlan­d from its comparison­s, and add nations with lower prices.

They will also empower the PMPRB to consider the cost- effectiven­ess of new drugs, and their potential impact on government budgets, a new approach for the federal watchdog.

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