Doctor assessing a patient

Taking a Closer Look at Access to New Medicines

Lauren Fischer  | January 10, 2018

Tags |  Policy

Today’s guest post comes from Lauren Fischer, Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Lilly Canada.

The sustainability of Canada’s healthcare system is being tested. Demands on the system increase with every change to our social and demographic conditions. At the same time, people now expect more from their medical treatments, and it's easy to understand why. Our country’s history of steady improvements in managing complex diseases has provided new possibilities for patients and their families.

These increased demands and innovative improvements provide an important backdrop for the federal government’s work to increase the affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of prescription medicines. As a maker of these medicines, we share the government’s intention to "improve the health of Canadians and better meet healthcare system needs." In fact, we’ve been committed to this goal since we partnered with Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best to develop insulin, in 1922.

Healthcare is woven into the social fabric of Canada. As a company, we want to collaborate with the government, private sector and the public to keep our system working for Canadians. That said, we have many questions about the government's approach to ensuring affordability.

Many of these questions are about Health Canada's proposals to change the rules governing the price of innovative medicines. How will these proposed changes affect the accessibility of medicines for vulnerable populations covered by government-funded drug plans? What do they mean for the availability of innovative medicines in Canada? What impact will they have on Canada's knowledge economy and research infrastructure?

Over the coming weeks, we’re going to shine a light on these issues. We’ll describe the cost, price, and value of medicines, and the ethical complexities of each of these concepts. We’ll outline the mandates of the different players in the drug review and funding system, including the regulatory bodies, private insurance companies, and government-funded drug plans. We’ll also provide details on how the innovative pharmaceutical industry works with all of these groups to make our medicines available to Canadians.

And we’ll talk about Canada’s knowledge economy. The government’s agenda on innovation and their agenda to improve the sustainability of healthcare are connected, and an appropriate balance must be struck.

With these blogs, we hope to add to the conversation. Health Canada is seeking input on its proposed changes to drug regulation, and we hope that by sharing our perspective, we’ll encourage you to engage, too.