Thursday, March 18, 2010

Canadians slow to get approved medications

From the Vancouver Sun:
Canadians are not able to quickly access newly developed prescription medicines because of the slow drug approval process and delays by provincial drug plans in approving the medicines for reimbursement, according to a new study released Wednesday by a leading Canadian think-tank.

Mark Rovere, a policy analyst with the Fraser Institute, said it takes Health Canada about 13 months to approve new drugs as safe, but it takes another year for the provinces to make a decision on whether they will cover the drug.

Once drugs are approved by the federal authorities, most private insurers will cover them immediately, he said, but this leaves people that rely on provincial plans out in the cold.

"In the end, the provinces usually choose not to cover these drugs, leaving the one-third of Canadians who rely on provincial drug plans without access to most new medicines," he said. ...more

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