On June 22, 2007, Québec's Conseil du médicament released updates to the province's formulary, the Liste des médicaments, and issued summary reports on its review of new drugs.
The formulary updates included price increases for 363 drug products, including both brand name and generic drugs. This announcement brings the total number of drugs with price increases to over 1000 since Québec's 13-year freeze on price increases ended officially on April 18, 2007. Most of the increases were within the limit for 2007 of 2.03%, but 163 were higher. The Conseil explained that it allowed higher increases in these exceptional circumstances:
- The drugs are judged to be essential to health; and
- There are no interchangeable products on the formulary; or
- The interchangeable products are more expensive.
- The Conseil noted that these 163 products represent 3% of the more than 5400 products on the Liste des médicaments.
The freeze on drug prices in Quebec was lifted following legislative changes through Bill 130 and the extensive consultations leading to the Pharmaceutical Policy which was released in February of this year. Under these changes, manufacturers may request a price increase, but they must respect a number of criteria, including:
- The drug product must have been on the formulary for at least two years;
- The manufacturer must continue to guarantee that the price in Québec will be no higher than the lowest price available on another provincial formulary;
- The increase may not exceed a limit based on increases in the Québec Consumer Price Index (2.03% for 2007); and
- The manufacturer must have concluded an agreement with the Minister of Health and Social Services to mitigate the increased cost to the public drug plan of the price increase.
- The Conseil also issued a 28-page report, "Capsules Pharmacothérapeutiques," giving the reasons for its recommendations to list, or not to list, new drugs as a general benefit or for coverage on an exceptional basis. The innovative products approved for a general listing were ALVESCO and FOSAMAX oral solution; those approved for listing on an exception basis were BIPHENTIN, LEVEMIR, ORENCIA and TYGACIL. Coverage for new indications or under revised criteria was approved for HEPSARA, HUMIRA and SUTENT.
For more information on the recent changes, including links to the Liste des médicaments and the Conseil's report, "Capsules Pharmacothérapeutiques", please see:
For a link to Québec's Pharmaceutical Policy, please see: