Patients Need a Seat at the Table –
Groups Seek Meaningful Dialogue with Government and Drug Manufactures to Find Ways to Preserve and Balance Issues of Affordability, Access and Appropriate Use
Myeloma Canada, in collaboration with the Save Your Skin Foundation and twenty-eight Canadian patient organizations, representing a wide range of patients with medical conditions, present a united voice to the Minister of Health and to Health Canada for halting the current review of drug pricing in Canada. The organizations believe that advancing the current proposed drug pricing reforms under the mandate of the Patented Medicines Review Board (PMPRB) may be a hindrance for patients requiring innovative therapies. This may substantially impact access to new medicines and decrease research investments that can facilitate clinical trials in Canada. 
Martine Elias, Director of Access , Advocacy and Community Relations, Myeloma Canada
We are asking Health Canada to open a fulsome consultation process among all parties, including patient representatives , to identify solutions and ensure that the pillars of the Canadian healthcare system are being upheld.

In its most recent submission to Health Canada, the patient organizations identified three key areas where Canada may be, unconsciously, on the brink of creating a second-class health system, including:
  • Impact for patients – Canada has one of the highest percentages of new drugs available worldwide. The pharmaceutical industry has stated that any changes that substantially impact revenues may consequently affect the number of future new drugs to come into Canada or, may result in significantly longer delays in the launch of new drugs. Should this occur, it would not only hurt the patients relying on the public drug reimbursement system for access to therapies, but also patients with private insurance plans and even those who wish to purchase the drugs themselves.

  • Impact on overall health outcomes – Many new drugs approved in Canada lead to improved health outcomes for patients. For example, the rate of premature cancer has declined since the launch of new breakthrough medications.

  • Impact on research and clinical trials – With lower drug prices, companies may choose to invest research budgets elsewhere, thus reducing the number of clinical trials available to Canadian patients. Currently, many patients have the opportunity to be treated with leading-edge therapies before they become widely available. 
In the submission to Health Canada, patient organizations provided eight concrete solutions that can be evaluated, including: pay for performance measures, risk-sharing agreements or adherence programs. Health Canada and the pharmaceutical industry must meet to discuss and explore innovative initiatives that can offer real solutions to address affordability, without affecting accessibility or appropriate use of medications.

To read the full submission "Recommendations on the Proposed Amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations", click here .
The Patient Organization Submission is endorsed by the following:

Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance, Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, Canadian MPN Network, Canadian Obesity Network, Canadian Psoriasis Network, Canadian Skin Patient Alliance, Canadian Spondylitis Association, Centre Associatif Polyvalent d'Aide Hépatite C (CAPAHC), Canadian Treatment Action Council, Carcinoid-NeuroEndocrine Tumour Society Canada, Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada, Collective Oncology Network for Exchange, Cancer Care Innovation, Treatment Access and Education (CONECTed), Colorectal Cancer Canada, Kidney Cancer Canada, Life-Saving Therapies Network, Lung Cancer Canada, Lymphoma Canada, Melanoma Network of Canada, Myeloma Canada, Pancreatic Cancer Canada, Rethink Breast Cancer, Save Your Skin Foundation, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario, Team Finn, The Canadian CML Network, The Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Society of Canada, and The Lung Association Ontario.