PHARMACARE: Trudeau: Do More Than Tinker With Drug Prices...

PHARMACARE: Trudeau: Do More Than Tinker With Drug Prices...

Postby Oscar » Sat May 20, 2017 12:28 pm

14 chapters to call on Trudeau to do more than tinker with prescription drug prices

[ ... rug-prices ]

May 20, 2017 - 9:19 am

Fourteen Council of Canadians chapters are planning to meet with their Member of Parliament this coming week - equipped with this report and toolkit [ ] - to demand the Trudeau government implement a national 'pharmacare' program that would provide universal access to prescription drugs for everyone in this country.

The chapters taking part in this mobilization for pharmacare are:

Ontario-Quebec -- Hamilton, Peterborough-Kawarthas, Peel Region, Thunder Bay, Kitchener-Waterloo
Pacific -- Vancouver-Burnaby, Comox Valley, Kamloops, Cowichan Valley
Prairies-NWT -- Quill Plains (Wynyard), Winnipeg, Brandon-Westman
Atlantic -- Prince Edward Island, Kent County

This morning, The Globe and Mail reports, "[Health minister Jane] Philpott this week unveiled plans for the first overhaul in 30 years of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, a little-known regulator that has already conceded it is struggling under its mouldy rules to keep prices in check. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, she also hinted that the government will beef up the federal-provincial-territorial alliance that negotiates discounts on drug prices and, more significantly, eventually consider a national list of essential medicines that would be covered for every Canadian, regardless of age or income."

That article adds, "Drug-policy experts say the latter idea [a national list of essential medicines], which Dr. Philpott cautioned is a long way off, would let Canada use that national purchasing power to drive harder bargains with drug companies. But unless or until Ottawa and the provincial and territorial governments agree to that, Canada is stuck with a patchwork of private and government drug plans that leave it at a significant price disadvantage compared to countries [like France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom that have] some version of national pharmacare."

Instead of moving forward on pharmacare, the Trudeau government intends to tinker with the flawed Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

The newspaper explains, "The review board was created in 1987, when the federal government [under Brian Mulroney] agreed to [lengthen] patent protection for new drugs in exchange for [already highly-profitable] pharmaceutical companies investing the equivalent of 10 per cent of sales in research and development in Canada. However, such investment has actually dropped to a low of 4.4 per cent. ...The board can order companies to drop their prices if it deems them to be too high [compared to the prices in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain and the United States]."

Health Canada is now proposing to drop the U.S. and Switzerland from that list given the high cost of drugs in those countries.

This past week the Council of Canadians released the results of an Environics poll it commissioned that found 91.4 per cent of Canadians would support Trudeau implementing a national pharmacare program, and 42.9 per cent of Canadians would be more likely to vote Liberal in the 2019 federal election if Trudeau were to introduce a pharmacare program in the next two years.

On May 5, the Toronto Star reported, "Pharmacare is not anywhere near the top of the federal government’s to-do list at present."

Through chapter action and public mobilization we hope to change this.

To tell the Prime Minister and Health Minister it's time for pharmacare, please click on our online action alert here: [ ... ]

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