Canada finalises new regulations to tackle high drug prices


Earlier this month, the Government of Canada announced the final amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations which estimates to save Canadians around $13 billion in the next decade and lay the foundation for National Pharmacare.

The most significant reform to the regulations since their introduction in 1987, these amendments will give the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) the tools to protect Canadians from excessive prices and make patented medicines more affordable.

Firstly, these amendments will change the “basket” of countries Canada compares itself to when setting drug prices, so that prices here are judged against countries that actually look like Canada in terms of population, economy and approach to health care. With these amendments Canada will be dropping the United States and Switzerland from their reference basket, where prices are highest. It will also let the agency (PMPRB) consider the cost-effectiveness of new medicines.

Secondly, the changes will provide the PMPRB with the actual market price of medicines in Canada rather than inflated list or “sticker” price to more accurately assess whether a price is reasonable when setting a price ceiling. The amendments will also allow the PMPRB to consider whether the price of a drug actually reflects the value it has for patients.

Initially expected to take effect in January, the regulations were delayed so the government could review feedback. They will now go into effect on July 1, 2020.


  • Could these reforms limit Canadians’ access to new medicines?
  • Could the new policy eventually have cross-border consequences and affect U.S. market?
  • How will the IRP mechanism work in Canada after the new policy?

See how GPI pulse can help your business find answers to these questions and keep you up to date with the latest global policies and insights.

By – Pramod Kumar Mali – Senior Business Analyst