In lockstep with the U.S., Canadian officials are poised to implement a new initiative aimed at corralling high prescription drug costs, despite an offer by drug makers to pay C$8.6B (US$6.6B) over 10 years, freeze prices or reduce the cost of treating rare diseases.
Canada's government-funded healthcare system does not cover prescription medicines so most citizens rely on public or private insurance for them. Current costs are high, only the U.S. and Switzerland spend more per capita.
The government intends to expand the powers of an obscure federal watchdog called the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), including changing the lineup of countries that Canada compares its prices to, specifically dropping the U.S. (the priciest drug market on the planet), and setting a formula to assess the cost-effectiveness of medications.
The new rules were supposed to go into effect last month, but were delayed as the government continues to review feedback.
Unsurprisingly, drug firms have a dim view of the plan.
Selected tickers: AbbVie (ABBV +0.3%), Merck (MRK +0.3%), Pfizer (PFE -0.8%), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY -0.5%), Novartis (NVS +0.7%), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ +0.2%), Teva (TEVA -1.4%), Bausch Health (BHC +3.1%), Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY +0.6%), Allergan (AGN -0.7%), Takeda (TAK -0.6%), Novo Nordisk (NVO +1.9%), Amgen (AMGN +0.1%), Biogen (BIIB +0.3%), Gilead (GILD -1.3%)
Subscribe for full text news in your inbox