The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: reimbursement

Canadian Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Conference Report

Earlier this week, the Canadian Institute held its 5th annual Drug Pricing and Reimbursement Conference in Toronto. The conference highlighted a number of key issues including market access for pharmaceutical companies, Federal and Provincial regulatory and reimbursement policies, and global trends that may affect Canada’s pharmaceutical landscape. Attendees included both innovative and generic drug manufacturers, public and private payers, policy makers and lawyers.  One recurring theme at the meeting was a focus on patients as the target/end-users of the regulatory and pricing initiatives being discussed.

Of particular interest was the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s (“PMPRB”) session, one year after the new guidelines were released. Michelle Boudreau, Executive Director of the PMPRB, gave an update in light of the impact of the guidelines and touched on the future directions of the board. She focused on the issue of transparency in drug pricing including access to public information and open hearings for the PMPRB. In terms of moving forward, she commented on the Board’s new direction in trying to become more aligned with our international counterparts. In the coming months, the PMPRB’s transparency initiative will be exemplified through ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and increased public information made available on their web site. A consolidated version of the guidelines was promised to be available on the website by the end of June. A pdf of the presentation is available here.

Special thanks to the Canadian Institute for the conference pass and to Norton Rose summer student Karen Sie for this report.

Biotech Trends Update — Personalized Medicine: The Case for Diagnostics Focuses on Cost and Effectiveness

A report in FierceBiotech today distilled the views of three life science VCs on trends to watch in 2010.  Along with other worthwhile observations (and I’d encourage you to read the whole thing) was this bullet pointing out the value of personalized medicine in addressing comparative effectiveness concerns:

“Interest in molecular diagnostics is heating up. It’s one of the most attractive areas because physicians are increasingly demanding test that can tell them which treatments have the best chance of working before expensive medicines are issued. And diagnostics fit well with the healthcare reform efforts. Bloch adds that any technology that improves the efficacy of how care is delivered will be attractive to investors.”

The business case is eminently obvious.  Earlier this week AstraZeneca announced a collaboration with Dako Denmark A/S that will see Dako developing companion diagnostics for products in AstraZeneca’s oncology pipeline.  Key quotes from the announcement highlight the companies’ focus on “health care costs” and “reimbursable products”:

“Targeted treatment with personalized medicine is the future, and … is also a significant contributive factor in cutting health care costs” (Dako CEO)

“This agreement … will enable us to develop novel, reimbursable products that … predict which patients are most likely to respond to treatment, ensuring that we are giving the right treatment, to the right patient, the first time.” (AZ Head of Oncology Development)

The economic case for personalized medicine was one of this blog’s top biotech trends in 2009 and looks to continue at a strong pace through 2010.  To reach its full potential, though, the industry will have to convince policy makers and clinicians that personalized medicine can live up to its promise.

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