Monday, August 17, 2009 | Categories: Dr. Brian's Blog |
Last season on White Coat, Black Art, we explored the process by which new drugs are approved by Health Canada and then put on provincial formularies, at which point they are provided free-of-charge to seniors and patients eligible for welfare entitlement programs.
This week, the Fraser Institute released its third report on the amount of time patients must wait to access new medicines in Canada. According to the report, there's good news on the national front; in 2007, the average length of time taken by Health Canada to approve new drugs was 453 days, down from 487 days in 2006 and 696 days in 2005. And the average lag from Health Canada approval to putting a drug on provincial formulary in 2007 was 314 days, down from 455 days in 2006 and 499 days in 2005
Overall, it means that as of 2007, the total average wait time for the feds to approve drugs and have them paid for by the provinces is 767 days, down from 1391 days back in 2004.
That's the good news. However, comparative figures suggest that Canada still takes longer than the United States and the European Union to approve and pay for new drugs.
And, while average wait times are decreasing, the report found that only 10.1% of all drugs that Health Canada approved went on to be approved for full or partial reimbursement by the provinces.
The report will undoubtedly fuel calls once again for a national pharmacare program. But, with the country's finances in the red owing to a floundering economy plus stimulus spending, the push for pharmacare is unlikely to gain traction any time soon.
To read the report click: Access Delayed, Access Denied