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Health Canada’s Review of the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB)

Health Canada’s Review of the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB)

All health policies in Canada – including the Federal Government’s current review of the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB); the organization that regulates pharmaceutical pricing under the Patent Act – need to continually ensure optimal healthcare for all Canadians.

Janssen supports the Minister of Health’s mandate to improve affordability, access and appropriate prescribing of medicines in Canada.  However, we believe proposed guidelines following the PMPRB review will not result in helping Health Canada’s stated goals.  In fact, we believe these guidelines will have a number of unintended consequences for patients. The guidelines as they are now will preferentially benefit the private insurance industry while increasing costs to the public system.  Janssen is also concerned that these changes will mean decreased access to medicines for Canadians, fewer clinical trials and decreased industry investment in Canadian innovation.

These unintended consequences can be avoided. Our industry has proposed an alternate solution that would help achieve lower drug prices, increased access for un- and under-insured Canadians, improved data systems to ensure appropriate prescribing, and increased investment in innovation.  

Janssen has provided input to Health Canada on three specific areas of the proposed changes to the PMPRB regulations:     

  • Affordability – Proposed changes to the PMPRB are unlikely to result in savings for patients.  An affordable price for patients will likely differ from that of a province or private payer.  Therefore, the concept of setting one ‘affordable’ price for all patients is unrealistic in our mixed-payer system.

  • Access – The proposed PMPRB changes have the potential to inadvertently limit patient choice and more importantly, access to the most effective medications.  Price is an important consideration but value and health outcomes must also be part of policy decision-making.

  • Innovation –The proposed PMPRB reforms may create barriers for multinational companies to maintain healthy levels of investment in Canada. This means Canada would have less access to healthcare innovation; a key to leading to improvements in Canadians’ health.  For example, innovative medicines help to extend patients’ lives and keep people of out hospitals, while using just 6.4% of overall healthcare spending in Canada [SOURCE].


While we are disappointed that to-date, Health Canada has not been willing to engage in a broader policy discussion, Janssen will continue to collaborate with all levels of government, patient stakeholders, and private insurers to enable affordable and timely access to our innovative medicines so we can ensure continued investment in the future of Canadian healthcare.