Managing High-Priced, US Biotech Rxs in Canada

September 5, 2014
Tom Norton

Tom Norton is Principal at NHD Smart Communications of Illinois, Inc.

Pharmaceutical Executive

As the “Saga of Sovaldi” continues to unfold in the U.S., and Congress, insurers, providers, and the U.S. Rx manufacturer, Gilead, hurl charges back and forth at each other, it’s pretty clear the situation will only continue to deteriorate.

As the “Saga of Sovaldi” continues to unfold in the U.S., and Congress, insurers, providers, and the U.S. Rx manufacturer, Gilead, hurl charges back and forth at each other, it’s pretty clear the situation will only continue to deteriorate. However, as you look north of the American border, it’s striking how Canadian healthcare entities are managing a similar Sovaldi situation, as well as the other new, high cost, American biotech products that are beginning to appear there.

As a quick review, Health Canada is a single payer healthcare system that has a governmental obligation to provide healthcare to all Canadians. Although predicated on a complicated system of federal and provincial medical cooperation, the approach has evolved since 1946 into a fairly comprehensive, public form of single payer healthcare coverage.

However, recently the Canadian healthcare system has been disturbed by the arrival of several American biotech drugs - the same breakthrough drugs that are creating so much controversy in the U.S. How has this situation played out in Canada versus the invective that’s been experienced in the U.S.?

To put it succinctly, differently… Very differently.

For the full version of this article, click here.