Are Canadian prices for patented medicines excessive compared to other countries?

The prices of patented medicines sold in Canada are regulated by a quasi-judicial agency of the federal government known as the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB). In August 2019 Health Canada introduced changes to the guidelines the PMPRB uses to set ceiling prices for new medicines. The new regulations come into force on January 1, 2022. The PMPRB narrative justification for amending the regulations is that Canadian prices are too high, and it cites Canada’s rank in international comparisons as evidence. The agency relies on its own internal analysis to support this claim, but it has not been independently audited. A recent study published in CHP Journal, tested the validity of the PMPRB’s narrative. Prices for 100 top selling patented medicines in Canada were compared to prices for symmetrical products in the 11 countries specified by the new regulations for international referencing, plus former reference countries Switzerland and the United States. The results contradict the PMPRB rationale for the new regulations.