This week, Health Canada and the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) hosted a webinar outlining their proposed changes to the Patented Medicines Regulations. Under the new proposals, the pricing of drugs will be compared to their prices in 12 other countries so that Canadians will pay a price for the drug that is comparable to other countries. That sounds fair but it sidesteps a major flaw in the thinking at Health Canada and PMPRB – we will be the 13th country to decide if a drug can be marketed in Canada for a specific condition. Why can’t we be the 1st country? Why can’t we be the trend setters, the ones that develop the drug to begin with? Why can’t we be that country? Why?

In sharp contrast to Canada’s thinking, patient advocacy groups in the United States are walking the halls of Congress in Washington in response to proposed cut in the Orphan Drug Tax Credit that may prevent some biotech companies from developing orphan drugs. Furthermore, the US Food and Drug Administration today proposed new guidelines to make it easier and more efficient for companies to develop targeted therapies. In other words, the United States is continuing to create policies and trying to protect older policies that encourages them to be 1st, not 13th.

We can do better Canada, we can do better.