In a bid to reduce medicine prices in Canada, the Canadian Minister of Health announced the revision of the reference basket for international reference pricing (IRP).
Medicines prices in Canada are regulated by the federal government, through the PMPRB (Patented Medicine Prices Review Board). The current reference rule used by the PMPRB to fix medicine prices takes an average price of a basket of countries: France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA. Medicine prices in the USA are typically the highest worldwide, therefore, Canada plans to amend the reference basket by replacing USA with New Zealand, a country that reports lower prices. The Ministry of Canada is expecting to save millions of dollars a year with this reform and is expected to come into effect in 2018.
If Canada’s reference basket were to include New Zealand instead of USA, the price for Afinitor, for example, 5 mg 30 tablets could be reduced by around 35% (6,002.70 CAD to 3,901.30 CAD). It is also worth keeping in mind that the price decrease in Canada will also impact medicine prices in other countries such as Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Taiwan.