New medicines simply won’t be coming to Canada if the government goes ahead with changes to how the Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) calculates maximum prices allowed for therapies in Canada, says the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD), a network for organizations representing those with rare disorders.

The organization says patient representatives who met with PMPRB officials in Ottawa on Dec. 10 say the changes are “even worse than feared.”

“We can only conclude that this strategy is tied to the publicly funded pharmacare proposals,” says CORD’s president and CEO, Durhane Wong-Rieger. “It will be a drug plan that includes no new drugs and perhaps eliminates some existing ones.”

The organization says while every country is considering how to pay for breakthrough treatments, only Canada is introducing measures to drop list prices by more than 20 per cent and actual prices by 40 to 90 per cent. They add that some pharmaceutical companies are already stopping plans to launch new medicines in Canada, while others are indicating they might be forced to withdraw front line therapies under the new pricing formula.

“If every developed country took the same approach as Canada, research and development of new medicines would literally grind to a halt as investors directed their funds elsewhere,” the organization said in a statement. “However, because Canada represents only two per cent of the global drug market and we are the only country imposing such drastic price cuts, the net result will be that companies will simply choose not to bring the new medicines to Canada.”