Drug makers file complaint for regulations to lower Canadian drug prices

Five pharma companies have filed a complaint in Canadian court over new rules intended to lower the price of drugs in the country.

Five pharmaceutical companies have announced they have filed a complaint in a Canadian court challenging the constitutionality of new regulations in the country. The rulings were part of an effort to lower patented drug prices.

The complaint was submitted to Quebec’s Superior Court by the Canadian divisions of Merck & Co, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim and Servier Inc.

The move goes against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to make pharmaceuticals affordable.

The new rules would save patients, employers, insurers and government drug plans money, at the expense of drug company profits in Canada. The regulations give new powers to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), which sets maximum drug prices.

The five firms separately stated that in Canada, the provinces have had the authority to regulate the prices of medicines, not the federal government.

The regulations expand the information the PMPRB can consider when setting drug price caps, giving it the ability to consider cost-effectiveness for the first time.

The new rules “will slow and limit Canadians’ access to new breakthrough medicines,” Merck Canada said in a release.