Prepared by Mathieu Bédard, Economist at the MEI, April 2018
Innovative drugs help people enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives. They also allow our health care systems to save money.
However, the reimbursement of new drugs by Canada’s public plans can face considerable delays due to a very burdensome regulatory process. Far from resolving this problem, a new reform will duplicate certain stages of this process and possibly lengthen it.
Click here to read the full Viewpoint – Innovative Drugs: A Bureaucratic Obstacle Course
Et en francais: Le Point – La course à obstacles des nouveaux médicaments
March 28, 2018, at the CBC on Front Street.
André Picard, Health Columnist for the Globe and Mail, opened the evening and set the tone for the session, sharing his expert knowledge acquired over more than 30 years on our health care system. We heard from a variety of people with lived experience on their very personal health issues and corresponding challenges accessing timely and affordable life-saving treatment. We also heard from health and mental health policy experts for the need for policy and system improvements and from politicians who expressed a deep and personal understanding of where our health care system is failing and a sincere desire to improve it. We also had a very engaged audience who articulately voiced their individual concerns and asked intelligent and insightful questions of our expert panel and politicians.
Click here to watch the recording of the town hall that we have made available on YouTube, and feel free to share this link with your network.
Click here to read the event report: Ontario Pre-Election Town Halls on Major Health Concerns – Key Messages April 26, 2018
Many Canadians are surprised to learn that a drug’s approval for sale by Health Canada doesn’t equate to access to these often lifesaving therapies. For cancer patients, time is valuable and access to effective therapies is critical. While advances in screening, detection and treatment have improved outcomes, an estimated 80,800 Canadians are expected to die of cancer in 2017. Health Canada has implemented mechanisms to improve timely access to innovative and potentially curative therapies for those with life-threatening conditions, including cancer. Public funding of these treatments, however, has not kept pace with their approval. Patients are suffering the consequences. Drugs may be available for doctors to prescribe, but unless they are reimbursed by the government, new cancer treatments are inaccessible to many patients.
Click here to read the full white paper published by Lymphoma Canada and 12 other signatories (including Save Your Skin Foundation): Improving Access to Innovative Cancer Therapies in Canada
Our health care system is complex with many key decision makers at either federal, national or provincial levels that are responsible for the health care services Canadians receive. Canada, like many countries, is facing escalating healthcare costs as payers struggle to reconcile drug budgets with patient access to promising new health technologies. Health Canada holds different responsibilities influencing the landscape of our health care system, including drug safety, quality and effectiveness, and an important role with respect to drug pricing.
The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) undertook major consultations regarding possible reform of its Compendium of Policies, Guidelines and Procedures and during this 1st phase of the consultation initiative, asked for input on how to rethink the Guidelines in order to improve performance in ensuring that pharmaceutical patent holders do not charge excessive prices. We, as patient organizations, recognize the regulations overseeing drug pricing need to be re-evaluated, especially given the changes in our ecosystems since the inception of these regulations.
We are grateful to all those involved in seeking the input of groups like ours and other stakeholders on protecting Canadians from excessive drug prices. Save Your Skin Foundation participated with 16 other concerned patient groups. Click here to read and download: Recommendations on Proposed Amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations, June 28, 2017
Save Your Skin Foundation has developed an established government relations approach that includes open communication and consultation between policy makers and leaders within the Foundation. We contribute to policy discussions and work towards consistent and effective implementation of procedures and protocols that put the patient ﬁrst. Click here to read about our January – June 2017 schedule of meetings.
In November 2016, the first annual Drug Pricing Policy Summit was held in Toronto, Ontario. Click here to read the Event Report: Drug Pricing Policy in Canada: Mobilizing Patients to Action
In November 2017 was the second DPPS – varied patient groups joined the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, and Save Your Skin Foundation to discuss: Drug Pricing Policy in Canada: Measuring Progress and Making Our Mark – please click here for all updated reports, recordings, and background information.
Making awareness and education available is crucial. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers focusing on education, prevention and the need for improved patient care.