Confident male pharmacist reading label on merchandise in storage room. Young chemist is working in storage room. He is wearing lab coat at drugstore.CUPE says new federal guidelines to regulate the cost of prescription drugs are an important step towards a national pharmacare program.

The Patented Medicines Prices Review Board (PMPRB) released new guidelines on Friday, October 23, 2020, governing the cost of patented medicines in Canada. CUPE is pleased to see the updated guidelines will reduce prices on patented drugs and strengthen protection for patients. For years, the existing framework has failed to adequately protect Canadians from inflated prices. As a result, Canadians have been paying some of the highest costs for prescription drugs in the world.

“Today’s announcement will help modernize the system and address sky-high prices that Canadians pay for prescription drugs,” said National President Mark Hancock. “These changes are a necessary first step towards the implementation of a national pharmacare program.”

A poll conducted by Nanos earlier this month showed 83 per cent of Canadians support a national pharmacare program.

“The growing consensus is undeniable: Canadians need better access to important, often life-saving medications,” said National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “Carrying out the legwork to lower the cost of patented drugs is a critical step on the road to achieving national pharmacare.”

CUPE will be keeping a close eye on the House of Commons Health Committee as it begins its study of these new guidelines, and encourages the public to contact the committee to let them know they support better access to prescription drugs for all Canadians.