Ottawa’s Drug-Pricing Change Threatens Interest of Canadians Suffering from Rare Diseases

The plea by Canadians federal government to increasingly regulate the cost of pharmaceutics might have downsides attached to it. According to a new study released by the Fraser Institute recently, Canadians with rare diseases including cystic fibrosis may soon lose access to new and innovative methods of drug treatment.

Starting next year, the Patented Medical Prices Review Board in Canada would be regulating and looking over the prices for medicines in Canada. As part of these regulations, the board would introduce new rules that will help the department in establishing lower prices for the market. Due to this drive for lower medicines, pharmaceuticals may lose motivation to develop new drugs for rare diseases.

Dr. Nigel Rawson, who is the senior fellow of Fraser Institute and author of Regulatory, Reimbursement and Pricing Barriers to Accessing Drugs for Rare Disorders in Canada, recently talked about the issue. He mentioned, “Drugs for rare diseases are often very expensive because they are costly to develop and target a small number of patients, so when governments push too hard to lower prices, pharmaceutical companies have little incentive to launch these drugs.”

The study has also found out that newer drugs and medicines released elsewhere have not found acceptance in the Canadian market. The study, which focused on the period between 2002 and 2016, has found that over 20 drugs for rare diseases – approved across United States and Europe – couldn’t be made available in Canada because of regulatory disputes.

Based on how the trends are continuing, Canada would soon have a big segment of the population suffering from rare diseases, and without any local or internationally approved drugs to work with. While Premier, Justin Trudeau, might try to paint his regulations as good, the fact of the matter is that Canadian medical policies have suffered under his tenure. The situation is expected to become graver, with the current regulations expected to be implemented from next year onwards.

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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