Government addresses rising drug costs

Manulife supports steps to reduce drug costs

November 01, 2021

For business owners, plan administrators, and sponsors

In August, the federal government announced steps to modernize the work of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). The PMPRB sets the maximum price for patented medicines in Canada. They set prices by looking at costs in other countries and calculating an average.

The changes mean the PMPRB will have the tools to help lower the costs Canadians pay for prescription drugs. That includes drugs paid for by a government plan or by a group benefits plan.

Summary of changes:

  1. The list of countries the PMPRB uses to evaluate drug prices in Canada will be changed so prices in Canada are judged against countries that have a similar population, economy and health care system.
  2. The PMPRB will have access to the actual market price of medicines in Canada (instead of inflated list or "sticker" prices). This information will help the PMPRB decide if a price is reasonable when setting the upper limit for the cost of a drug.
  3. The PMPRB will have the ability to consider whether the price of a drug reflects its actual value for patients.

Manulife is very supportive of these changes. We’ve been working with the government and the industry to find solutions to lower the cost of medicine. We don’t yet know exactly how or when this change will affect employer drug plans, but the government’s announcement is very encouraging.

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After the government’s announcement, Manulife issued this press release.