Report: Canada Trails Similar Countries on New Drug Access
Canada lags significantly behind other developed countries in providing coverage for new medicines, with Canadians waiting on average 462 days for novel, potentially lifesaving drugs, a new report shows.
Overall, Canada ranks 16 out of 18 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in the length of time from marketing authorization of a new drug to reimbursement by public prescription drug plans. Time to listing in at least one province is 493 days, 217 days longer than the average and 238 more days than the median of all countries, the report by IMS Brogan says.
Countrywide, only 23 percent of new drugs are reimbursed. Just 29 percent of cancer drugs and 18 percent of first-in-class drugs are covered in drug plans across provinces comprising at least 80 percent of the eligible population, the report says.
For new biologics, the picture is even worse. While 52 percent were reimbursed in at least one province, the figure drops to 20 percent when viewed across all provinces, putting Canada in next-to-last place ahead of New Zealand.
Russell Williams, president of industry group Rx&D, which commissioned the report, blames the delay on public drug plans’ practice of making new medicines available on a conditional, case-by-case basis. This leads to more administration, longer wait times for patients and no guarantee that patients will receive coverage.
Read 2015 Access to New Medicines in Public Drug Plans: Canada and Comparable Countries at www.fdanews.com/05-15-RxDReport.pdf. —Jonathon Shacat