Pharmaceutical Industry

Four Things Needed to Make Pharmacare Work for Canadians

Steve Morgan | Posted 02.25.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

A growing number of health professionals, patients, community groups and even politicians are calling for national pharmacare. But many Canadians likely wonder what pharmacare is and whether Canada is ready for it.

Why Do Canadian Employers Waste $5 billion a Year on Inefficient Drug Coverage?

Alan Cassels | Posted 02.09.2015 | Canada Politics
Alan Cassels

Employers want their drug plans to be as competitive as those offered by other employers. So what happens when the norm is to cover all new drugs at any cost, even if the drugs do not provide additional therapeutic value? Well, the end result is that everyone buys "generous" plans instead of increasing employee compensation. Everyone we spoke with agrees about the need to educate employees and employers alike. And in fact, everyone agrees (even insurers) that exorbitant drug costs are a big issue for Canadians.

As Vaccine Prices Soar, Big Pharma Profits

Stephen Cornish | Posted 02.04.2015 | Canada Impact
Stephen Cornish

Last week in Berlin more than 15 countries pledged over US$7.5 billion to buy vaccines for the children of the world's poorest countries for the next five years. While this is great news for the millions of children living in the 73 countries supported by Gavi, there were other big winners: the pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the soaring vaccine prices they charge for vaccines worldwide.

How Health Canada Failed to Uphold Its Own Pharmaceutical Ad Standards

Barbara Mintzes | Posted 01.26.2015 | Canada Politics
Barbara Mintzes

Although advertising of prescription medicines to the public is generally banned in Canada on public health grounds, shifts in administrative policy have allowed two types of ads since late 2000: "reminder" ads that mention a brand name, but make no health claims; and "help-seeking" ads that mention a condition, but do not state a brand or company name. We have identified six main weaknesses in how Health Canada regulates this advertising.

New Brunswick's Opportunity to Reduce Pharmaceutical Drug Prices

Steve Morgan | Posted 02.18.2015 | Canada Politics
Steve Morgan

The Liberal government of New Brunswick appears to be stepping back from the brink of mandatory prescription drug insurance. And so they should. The drug plan chosen by the Conservatives was designed on a false premise: that the private sector can better manage things than government can. In many sectors, that might be true. But not in health care.

Canada Needs a National Standard for Drug Coverage, Not a Patchwork System

Danielle Martin | Posted 12.01.2014 | Canada Politics
Danielle Martin

Better pharmacare for all Canadians will be difficult to achieve without the federal government at the table. The government of Canada could lead on this issue in a way that no single province or territory can do, by supporting the development of a single national list of drugs to be covered for all Canadians and by harnessing the purchasing power of the whole nation to get the best possible bang for our buck.

Without Big Pharma, Many Useful Drugs Wouldn't Exist

Yanick Labrie | Posted 11.05.2014 | Canada Business
Yanick Labrie

Although some people like to paint the pharmaceutical industry as a villain, a substantial proportion of very useful drugs would simply not have seen the light of day if not for its contribution.

Canada's Big Pharma Should Do What It Does Best

Joseph Soares | Posted 10.07.2014 | Canada Business
Joseph Soares

Back in 2012, things looked grim for Canada's Big Pharma industry. A significant number of the industry's high-earning products were about to lose their patent protection, and face replacement by low-margin generics. But Canada's pharma industry, the eighth largest in the world, maintained its levels of innovation as well as formulating an innovative and successful business strategy.

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Yanick Labrie | Posted 09.03.2014 | Canada Impact
Yanick Labrie

At an important conference in Chicago last June, over 25,000 doctors and researchers from around the world gathered to hear about several new breakthroughs in targeted therapies that will soon play a leading role in the fight against cancer.

Canada's Drugs Need To Be Safer For Children

Martin Offringa | Posted 07.20.2014 | Canada Living
Martin Offringa

How do you strike a balance when treating children with drugs in the absence of such evidence? Most people might be surprised to learn that much of the medications given to children in Canada have never been adequately studied or even formally approved for the conditions they are commonly prescribed to treat.

This Secret Trade Deal Contains Threats to Public Health

Stephen Cornish | Posted 05.21.2014 | Canada Business
Stephen Cornish

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement is being negotiated in secret, but leaked documents from the negotiations have revealed that the United States is pushing hard for strict intellectual property rules that would protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies at the expense of patients. These rules would extend patent monopolies and delay the introduction of cheaper generic drugs, allowing the big brand-name drug companies to maintain their high prices for longer periods of time. This would put lifesaving medicines out of reach for millions of poor people around the world. It could also lead to higher drug prices here at home.

How The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Literally Kill Us

Kapil Khatter | Posted 03.26.2014 | Canada Politics
Kapil Khatter

And as nations are just starting to get their heads around how to solve the obesity crisis, surely we shouldn't dump everything out of our toolbox before the real work has even started. We need to keep our public policy options open, to make room for initiatives to clean up a food environment that is literally killing us.

Moving in the Right Direction on Intellectual Property Protection

Nadeem Esmail | Posted 01.23.2014 | Canada Business
Nadeem Esmail

Focusing only on the cost increases associated with stronger (but still lagging) intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical innovators is simplistic and wrong. It is the balance of these costs and benefits that are the ultimate determinant of whether or not Canadians are better off, not just the post-2023 increase in drug costs to provincial governments, patients, and insurers.

Who Paid for Your Doctor's Opinion?

Kapil Khatter | Posted 11.30.2013 | Canada
Kapil Khatter

There are academic pharmaceutical researchers still publishing independent, peer-reviewed articles, just as there are still farmers who have small farms with the kinds of smiling animals one sees in children's books. But more and more pharmaceutical research is done factory farm-style, with organized precision and efficiency, all paid for by drug companies. Welcome to new science.

Part 3: The Underestimated Benefits of "Me-Too" Drugs

Yanick Labrie | Posted 06.20.2013 | Canada Politics
Yanick Labrie

Marc-André Gagnon, assistant professor at Carleton University, argues in a recent article that more than 80 per cent of new drugs entering the market are merely carbon copies of existing drugs -- commonly called "me-too" or "follow-on" drugs -- without any real therapeutic advance. Such criticisms, however, reveal a complete ignorance of the nature of the innovation process in the pharmaceutical industry.

Part 2: Paying Less for Prescription Drugs? Bad Idea

Yanick Labrie | Posted 06.19.2013 | Canada Business
Yanick Labrie

Paying less for drugs sounds like a good idea, right? Well, as with everything else, one needs to look at the whole picture and see what he gets in return. With regards to bulk purchasing, although there might be some savings initially, it is clear that the long-term disadvantages of such a policy outweigh its short-term benefits.

New Prescription Drugs Are Worth the Cost

Michel Kelly-Gagnon | Posted 01.29.2013 | Canada
Michel Kelly-Gagnon

We cannot deny the fact that the costs of prescription drugs have been increasing at a considerable rate over the last few decades. While total healthcare spending per capita has almost tripled during this period, per capita expenditures on prescription drugs have increased six-fold. But should this trend be a source of concern?

Can Nature Keep Medical Costs Down?

David Suzuki | Posted 11.19.2012 | Canada
David Suzuki

It's easier, more effective, and cheaper to let healthy bodies fight off disease and infections than to weaken those defence mechanisms and then compensate for them medically. If we want a stable health system, we must put more resources into reducing pollution and environmental degradation and creating a way of life that keeps bodies and minds happy and in good health.

Cheaper Drugs Soon? Massive Wave Of Patent Expirations Looms

CP | Posted 09.24.2011 | Canada Business

The cost of prescription medicines used by millions of people every day is about to plummet.

The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 bestselling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix.