Court affirms Canadian drug price control authority

In a ruling released last week, Canada’s Federal Court upheld the constitutionality of the Canadian Patented Medicines Prices Review Board to ensure drug prices are not excessive. The Board uses scientific reviews of drug effectiveness along with economic and market analysis to define a fair price for each medication. Drug prices cannot be higher than the median in seven other countries including the US. Alexion Pharmaceuticals sued the PMPRB over the price decision for Soliris, a treatment for two rare, life-threatening diseases. Solaris costs as much as $585,000 for a single course of treatment; patient groups report that the price is keeping people in need from getting the drug. In addition to suing over the PMPRB decision, Alexion claimed that the agency’s price-setting work is unconstitutional. The Court ruled against the company on both counts. Alexion plans to appeal the decision to Canada’s Supreme Court.

 

Join us in Quebec August 7 – 10 for CSG-ERC’s Annual Meeting. The Health Policy Committee will explore policy options and tools to control rising drug costs.