A new report from the Canadian Diabetes Association indicates that while Canada’s Common Drug Review (CDR) has improved the country’s drug review process, continuing roadblocks are making it difficult for those living with chronic conditions to access the medications they need to protect their health.

The report, In the Balance: A Renewed Vision for the Common Drug Review, suggests that the patchwork of public and private drug plans across Canada is failing to meet the needs of Canadians, especially those with chronic disease who do not fall under specific public coverage or private insurance through employers or other sources.

A primary reason for establishing the CDR was to improve access to newer and more efficient drugs as clinically appropriate. But the report’s authors indicate that location continues to influence access to prescription medication covered under participating drug plans. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island had among the lowest percentages of drugs approved prior to the CDR, and this has continued to be the case in the decade following its introduction. Conversely, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick had among the highest percentages of drug approvals, a trend that has continued under the CDR.

The report also shows that the length of time for drug-funding decisions varies significantly across participating drug plans. Provinces west of Quebec have seen average review times increase since the CDR’s introduction, while those provinces located east of Quebec have had decreased review times. Despite the improvements in some provinces, the report indicates that the shortest review times in Canada are still far longer than those in other countries.

“We encourage the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health to work closely with jurisdictional authorities, patient group representatives and industry toward further improvements and continuous change of the CDR process to meet the needs of all Canadians and our public healthcare system,” says Michael Cloutier, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Read the full report here.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

Join us on Twitter

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments that are thought to be disrespectful or offensive may be removed by our Benefits Canada admins. Thanks!

* These fields are required.
Field required
Field required
Field required