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Canadian Nurses Association welcomes first steps by federal government to enable affordable medication

Ottawa, August 9, 2019 – The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) welcomed today’s announcement by Health Canada on amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations. The regulatory reforms will allow the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) to make patented medicines more affordable for all Canadians. Claire Betker, president of CNA, released the following statement:

“CNA has long been advocating for a national pharmacare program. We have recommended to the federal government that it creates a comprehensive, universal, public system offering affordable medication coverage that ensures access based on need, not the ability to pay. The cost of some drugs in Canada is in the tens of thousands of dollars per year. Drugs for rare diseases are even more expensive. Since 2006, the number of drugs on the market that cost over $10,000 per year has more than tripled. These high costs have led to Canadians having to make tough choices — for example, renew a prescription or pay for food, take a medication as prescribed or stretch it out. Sometimes prescriptions simply aren’t filled, or they’re shared with others.

“The amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations will enable PMPRB to benchmark prices against countries that are like Canada economically and have similar consumer price protections. PMPRB will be able to consider whether the price of a new drug reflects its value to patients and the size of its potential market. PMPRB will also be able to see a medication’s true market price, including any rebates that have been added. This will allow PMPRB to set a maximum price that reflects the above considerations. The changes will apply to new drugs and ones that already have a drug identification number.

“CNA has been involved in the pharmacare consultation process from the very beginning. We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government on strategies to implement pharmacare to ensure that every Canadian has affordable access to prescription medications, especially those who are most vulnerable.

“CNA will review all the amendments to the Patented Medicines Regulations once they are released on August 21, 2019. We will continue to call on the federal government to implement a universal, single-payer pharmacare program that is sustainable and evidence-based.”


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The Canadian Nurses Association is the national and global professional voice of Canadian nursing, representing 135,000 nurses in all 13 jurisdictions across Canada. CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

For more information, please contact:

Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Tel: 613-237-2159, ext. 114
Cell: 613-237-3520
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca