On March 31, 2022, PMPRB published its 2020 Annual Report on its website. Key statistics reinforce concerns about Canada’s continued attractiveness for new medicine investment and launch since drug pricing reform began in 2017.
|Total # of Patented Medicines for Human Use Reported to PMPRB||1,403||1,364||1,289|
|# of New Medicines Reported to PMPRB||108||81||79|
|Sales of Patented Medicines in Canada||$16.7B|
|Consumer Price Index||+2.3%||+1.9%||+0.7%|
|National Average Transaction Price (ATP) for Patented Medicines||Stable||Stable||+1.6%|
|Ranking on Average Foreign-to-Canadian Price Ratios Among PMPRB7||4th||4th||4th|
The number of new medicines reported to PMPRB has declined by almost 30% since 2018, supportive of a worrying trend about the number of new, innovative medicines being launched in Canada and accessible to Canadian patients. This is compared to FDA Novel Drug Approvals which indicate relative stability over the same period. While both FDA and EMA experienced a dip in 2019, each recovered with an increase in approvals for 2020. Accordingly, we should have expected to see a similar recovery for Canadian approvals in 2020 over 2019. However, the PMPRB’s annual report demonstrates that recovery did not occur in Canada.
Another substantial decrease reported in PMPRB’s Annual Report is in the industry’s R&D expenditures in 2020 over previous years. What could have been argued as a slowing of investment in 2019 is now a clear and substantial decline in investment, at least based on PMPRB definitions. Given the relationship between late-stage R&D (such as Phase 3 clinical trials) and manufacturers’ intentions to launch in a country, this trend is a worrying sign about Canadians’ access to new medicines in the years to come. (Note however, PMPRB’s definition of R&D Expenditures has been contested, given recent Statistics Canada data which estimates R&D expenditures to be $2.2 billion in 2019.)
Other notable findings
- Average foreign-to-Canadian price ratios show Canadian prices remain 4th among the PMPRB7, exactly as was reported in previous years. In both 2019 and 2020, Canadian prices were lower than US, Germany and Switzerland, and slightly higher than France, Sweden, Italy and the UK. Interestingly, compared to 2019, prices in all countries appreciated such that the magnitude of difference between Canada and those countries with lower price ratios is smaller in 2020 than it was in 2019, and the gap between Canada and those countries with higher price ratios is bigger in 2020 than it was in 2019.
- PMPRB reports a 1.6% increase in the national ATP for patented medicines in 2020 despite only a 0.7% increase in CPI, but taken within context of the preceding two years – during which time CPI increased by 2.3% and 1.9%, respectively, while national ATP remained stable – it is important to understand these numbers within the context of recent years’ data.
See the PMPRB 2020 Annual Report for more information
Please contact Dylan Lamb-Palmer, Associate Director, Pricing & Data Analytics at Dylan.Lamb-Palmer@pdci.ca for any pricing and PMRPB questions.