Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies

Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies

June 13, 2013 08:54 ET

Canadians Have Access to Fewer New Medicines Than in Most OECD Countries

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - Compared to 32 other developed countries, Canada's public drug plans perform poorly in providing access to new medicines and vaccines, according to the 2011-2012 International Report on Access to Medicines released today by Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D). The report finds that public drug plans across Canada fall below the international survey average in every disease area, with the exception of arthritis and urology. In the context of international standards, this means that Canadians may find they have less choice of innovative treatment options if and when they need them.

While the report notes that Canada provides comparable access to medicines for HIV/AIDS and addiction, it falls far below in many other categories most notably in pain management, mental health, blood disorders and neurological conditions. Overall, Canada ranks 23rd out of 32 countries.

"Canadians should have access to the medicines and vaccines that will transform their lives," said Russell Williams, President, Rx&D. "We know that new medicines and vaccines improve health outcomes and help Canadians live longer, more productive lives. We also know that healthcare dollars invested in innovative medicines deliver return not only to the individual patient and their family, but also within the health system and for society overall."

The report compares how drug plans in Canada and 32 OECD countries are publicly reimbursed. It reviews a total of 204 drugs representing 257 indications. Other key findings include:

  • Canada ranks 19th out of the other 32 jurisdictions studied for oncology and specialty drugs.
  • Listing rates for public drug plans in Canada continue to hover around 50% - meaning that only half of the new medicines approved by Health Canada are made available to Canadians through public drug plans and as a result, Canadians do not benefit from the full range of new pharmaceutical innovations.
  • More and more, public drug plans in Canada are making new medicines available only on a conditional, case-by-case basis - resulting in more administration, wait times for patients before beginning treatment, increased paperwork for physicians; and most importantly, no guarantee that patients will receive coverage.

According to a 2012 study by the Canadian Health Policy Institute (CHPI), patented prescription medicines (excluding drugs used in hospitals) were estimated to account for only 4.7% of provincial/territorial government health spending for 2011-2012 - continuing a trend of decline that began in 2004. "Access to new medicines and vaccines is important to Canadians, and a key component of a sustainable healthcare system," added Russell Williams. "Our hope is that this report will spark dialogue with all stakeholders about how to better identify and leverage value in the healthcare system. It's good for patients, good for the healthcare system, good for employers and good for Canada's economy overall."

The 2011-2012 International Report on Access to Medicines is available on the Rx&D website.

About Rx&D

Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

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