NAFTA Negotiations Threaten Canada’s Push for Universal Pharmacare

NAFTA re-negotiations may impact Canada’s push for Universal Pharmacare.

U.S. trade negotiators favour the interests of pharmaceutical manufacturers over government and consumers. In the 1980s, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry successfully lobbied the U.S. government to make the elimination of early generic drug competition in Canada part of the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement. In the 1990s, The U.S. made the dismantling of policies favouring Canadian drug manufacturers part of the original NAFTA deal.

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Quebec Implementing Single Purchaser for Generic Drugs

Summary of the Globe and Mail article.

  • Quebec will seek competitive bids from companies for exclusive supply contracts for generic prescription drugs
  • In Quebec, pharmacists were often rebated up to 45 per cent of the price from the drug companies – fees that are illegal in most provinces; the new system caps rebates to pharmacists at 15%
  • Quebec spends $800 annually on generic drugs
  • Quebec could save 25 per cent to 35 per cent on its $800-million generic-drug bill

Read the entire Globe and Mail article June 28, 2017

Canadian Drug Companies Conflict of Interest in Clinical Practice Guidelines

Summary of the Globe and Mail Article.

  • Financial conflicts of interest are commonplace on guideline committees; 46% of the panelists involved in nine guideline documents received funding from companies that might benefit from a positive mention of their drugs
  • In 3 cases, more than 75 per cent of the panelists declared a conflict
  • In 2 cases, the guidelines were financed directly by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Doctors rely on guideline panels; official clinical practice guidelines can have a dramatic impact on how drugs are prescribed.
  • Canada has no nationwide rules for conflicts of interest; guideline committees set their own conflict standards.
  • Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to deliver speeches, act as consultants, teach continuing medical-education courses, fly to conferences and spearhead clinical trials, among other services.
  • The United States Physician Payments Sunshine Act compels companies to divulge all payments of $10 or more to doctors; Canada has no requirement for drug companies to divulge payments to doctors.

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Canadian Drug Companies Payments to Doctors and Health-Care Organizations

Summary of the Globe and Mail article.

    • Ten large Canadian drug companies paid $48 million to doctors and health-care-organizations in 2016
    • The payment disclosure was voluntary and was an aggregate number; critics say this is not transparent and meaningless
    • Only 10 of the 45 members  of a drug company consortium took part in the voluntary effort

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Website Updates

We are updating the Federal Seniors Liberals’ of BC Website.

We are improving the Federal Seniors Liberals’ Commission of BC Website:

  • Adding more information that is useful to seniors
  • Creating a Blog section
  • Linking to other resources

Only authorized people can write and publish blogs. Anyone with sufficient authority can comment on blogs.