Health Minister Patty Hajdu is delaying the first big overhaul of Canada’s patented medicines pricing system for a third time.
The regulations changing how the Patented Medicine Pricing Review Board ensures price fairness on new drugs now won’t take effect until next January, so that pharmaceutical companies have more time to prepare.
The new rules were announced in 2019 and were to take effect a year ago but were first delayed until Jan. 1 and then again until July 1 this year.
The new regulations will potentially cut drug prices by $13 billion over the next decade, with adjustments to the countries used for comparison purposes and new economic conditions guiding decisions on whether proposed prices are excessive.
More than three dozen pharmaceutical company executives recently asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a letter for another delay, arguing the pandemic had prevented a real discussion about the impact the new regulations would have on drug accessibility and innovation in Canada.
Some patient advocacy groups say the new regulations are needed to protect Canadians who already pay among the highest prices in the world for new medicines still protected by patents.