Canada’s drug price watchdog rethinks pricing guidelines to improve affordability of, access to, prescription drugs

June 24, 2016

Patented Medicine Prices Review Board launches first phase of major consultations to modernize its legal framework

Ottawa, ON — Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) today launched the first phase of a major consultation initiative that will ultimately change the way the federal government determines whether Canadian patented drug prices are excessive. The PMPRB’s regulatory framework will be modernized and simplified to better protect Canadian consumers from excessive patented drug prices in today’s rapidly evolving pharmaceutical market.

Through the Guidelines Modernization Discussion Paper, the PMPRB is seeking to generate an open, informed dialogue with stakeholders and members of the public on areas of the PMPRB’s drug pricing guidelines in need of reform as a result of changes to the pharmaceutical environment in Canada and abroad. Feedback in response to the Guidelines Modernization Discussion Paper and the series of questions it puts forward will shape later phases of the consultation process.

Rethinking the guidelines is an important step toward ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Canadian pharmaceutical system while continuing to improve the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs.

Comments must be submitted to the PMPRB in writing by October 24, 2016. All comments will be considered public and will be published on the PMPRB website. Written comments may be submitted by e-mail, letter mail or fax to:

Patented Medicine Prices Review Board
(Rethinking the Guidelines)
Box L40, 333 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1400
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1C1
Fax: 613-952-7626

Quick Facts

  • The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board is an independent quasi-judicial body that protects the interests of Canadian consumers by ensuring the prices of patented medicines sold in Canada are not excessive, and provides stakeholders with price, cost, and utilization information to help them make timely and knowledgeable drug pricing, purchasing, and reimbursement decisions.
  • Patented drug prices in Canada have gone from third-lowest to third-highest among the seven countries to which Canada compares itself under the Patented Medicines Regulations (France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, the United States, and Italy).
  • Canadians pay, on average, 35% more than consumers in other OECD countries for the same medicines, and spend more per person and as a percentage of GDP than the vast majority of OECD countries.
  • In 2014, Canadian spending on biologic and cancer drugs grew by double digits, and spending on new medicines alone increased tenfold.
  • Investment in pharmaceutical research and development in Canada has fallen by 62% since 1995, and has been less than the industry’s commitment of 10% of Canadian sales revenue since 2003, reaching an all-time low of 4.4% in 2014.


“This consultation initiative is aligned with the ongoing efforts of the federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Health to lower pharmaceutical prices while enhancing the affordability, accessibility, and appropriate use of prescription drugs.”
Mary Catherine Lindberg
Chairperson, Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

“Canada, like many countries, is facing escalating health care costs. These consultations are a necessary first step to modernizing and simplifying the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s regulatory framework in order to better protect Canadians from high patented drug prices.”
Douglas Clark
Executive Director, Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

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Sofie McCoy-Astell
Manager, Communications
Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired) – 613-957-4373
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