An Open Letter to Amarjeet Sohi, MP for Edmonton Mill Woods and Minister of Natural Resources Canada:
STOP Implementation of PMPRB changes!
Dear Minister Sohi,
As the federal cabinet minister representing the province of Alberta within the Liberal government, I am hoping that you will share the concerns of BioAlberta's members, the thousands of Albertans who depend on our province's growing life sciences sector for their livelihoods, and the millions of Albertans who rely on secure access to medicines to run our modern health system.
As you may know, Health Canada and the quasi-judicial agency - the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) - have proposed major overhauls to how the federal government regulates patented medicine prices. The regulations will make a challenging process even more difficult for Alberta's researchers - developers of medicines - to commercialize their products in Canada as well as undermine the business case for investment in the life sciences sector.
Further, concerns have also been raised about Canada's drug supply and access to medicines by Canadians as an unintended consequence of arbitrary price reductions in our market. Canada will become a less attractive market for new and innovative medicines to be launched quickly, delaying Canadian's access to these medicines. There is also risk that jurisdictions in the United States will look to Canada as a cheap supplier of drugs and negatively impact the supply of these medicines to Canadians. If your government's goal is affordable access to medicines for Canadians, a principle we can all support, the proposed PMPRB regulations will actually work against that policy objective.
More information is available in my opinion article, which was published in the Calgary Herald last month. This is an issue that will have negative consequences on the life sciences and innovation economy in Alberta and across Canada. It conflicts with your own government's goals as outlined in the HBEST recommendations. I'm asking that you engage your Cabinet colleagues and help them understand these negative consequences before new regulations are formalized - especially your colleagues on Treasury Board: Ministers Murray, Duclos, Joly, Morneau, Ng and Qualtrough. I would also be happy to speak with you and your staff in the coming days to provide more details if that would be helpful.
On a very urgent basis, I hope I can count on you as Alberta's voice at the cabinet table to relay our concerns and issues related to these proposed reforms.
President and CEO, BioAlberta
NOTE: Subsequent to sending our Letter to the Minister, the Government of Canada issued THIS PRESS RELEASE.