The ‘Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance’ Explained for Pharmaceutical Training StudentsJuly 12, 2016
The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) includes all 13 provinces and territories, as well as the Federal Government, and negotiates to decrease the price of both generic and brand name drugs for Canadians. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canadians spent $28.8 billion on prescription drugs in 2014, and this spending is actually down from the $33 billion Canadians spent in 2012. The CIHI also notes that the growth rate of Canadian pharmaceutical spending is quite low. This may all be due to effective negotiation measures taken by the pCPA.
Read on to discover how the pCPA makes sure that Canadians get the best possible prices on pharmaceutical drugs.
Students in Pharmaceutical Training Know the pCPA is Effective at Keeping Prices Affordable
As of January, 2016, the pCPA has saved Canadians more than $490 million CDN. These savings stem from both 89 negotiations on brand name drugs and 14 reductions on generic drugs. The alliance effectively combines the negotiating powers of provinces, territories, and the Federal Government in order to secure the best prices possible for Canadians. To better illustrate the effectiveness of alliances like the pCPA, it is helpful to examine the difference between Canadian and US drug prices—they are staggering.
For example Gleevec, a cancer treatment, costs Canadians $1,141 per month, while in the US the monthly treatment runs over $6,000 USD. Dr. Peter B. Bach, director of Morial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Health Policy and Outcomes explains that pharmaceutical companies charge such astronomical prices in the United States “because they can,” as the US has no system for managing the prices of drugs like Canada does. Based on the above savings, it’s clear the pCPA is highly effective in negotiations to decrease costs while not compromising drug quality, which professionals in pharmaceutical quality assurance know is important for keeping the population healthy.
Students at Pharmaceutical School May Know the Federal Government Just Joined the pCPA
Once you graduate from pharmaceutical training, you may enter careers in quality control or process validation, where it is helpful to understand the inner workings of how drugs are bought and sold in Canada. As of January of 2016, the Canadian Federal Government joined the pCPA as a member of the alliance in order to improve negotiating power and provide better, more cost effective drugs to its’ citizens.
The Government of Canada currently has federal health plans, totalling $630 million in 2014, which provides drug benefits for the First Nations and Inuit, the RCMP, the Canadian Forces, veteran groups, refugee protection claimants, and federal inmates. The Canadian Federal Government has joined Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon as a participating member of the alliance. Given that the Federal government covered about $12.6 billion of the total $28.8 billion spent by Canadians on prescription drugs in 2014, it is a great move on their part to begin participating in negotiations to continue promoting affordable prescription medications for Canadians.
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