FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TORONTO, April 8, 2019 – Two major Canadian patient organizations have appealed directly to Prime Minister Trudeau in an open letter calling for a moratorium on planned changes to the Patented Medicines Regulations which could harm patient access to new life-saving drugs.
In the letter which is available at www.raredisorders.ca, Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, President and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD) and Martine Elias, Executive Director, Myeloma Canada express urgent concerns over how the new regulations will impact the entry of new medicines into Canada. Dr. Wong-Rieger and Ms. Elias serve as patient members on a Steering Committee that is studying the proposed Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) regulatory changes.
“As patient members appointed to the PMPRB Steering Committee on Guidelines Modernization, our responsibility is to ensure the needs of the millions of Canadian patients are adequately reflected in the proposed regulatory changes,” said Dr. Wong-Rieger. “So far, there is no indication that the PMPRB is willing to listen and we appear to be crash test dummies in a vehicle on a pre-set course to go over a cliff.”
“We all want to have access to medicines at affordable prices,” added Ms. Elias. “However, these proposed changes by the PMPRB will mean that many new therapies will not be available in Canada. It will be unethical, unjustifiable, and unfair but nevertheless inevitable that Canadian patients will be denied breakthrough, lifesaving, and even incrementally better medicines.”
The patient representatives urge the Prime Minister to exercise his leadership and instruct the PMPRB to undertake a proper consultation on the proposed changes before it’s too late, especially in light of new national Pharmacare initiatives. Dr. Wong-Rieger added that, “If done right, consultations on a new national Pharmacare program could lead to better access to affordable medicines that patients need to be well and, in many cases, survive.”
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Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders