Canada again delays overhaul to patented medicine pricing system

Click to play video: 'Debate rages over whether to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents'
Debate rages over whether to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents
While some countries have made great progress with their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, there's still a major stumbling block when it comes to vaccinating the rest of the world. Abigail Bimman looks at the debate over whether COVID-19 vaccine patents should be waived temporarily, which supporters argue will help get more doses made and get more people vaccinated faster – Jun 15, 2021

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.

READ MORE: Canada battling pharmaceutical companies over new pricing rules, patients caught in the middle

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.

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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.

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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.

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