Is the Drive for Cheaper Drugs Costing Lives? – House of Commons Health Committee hears from AIMS
New pharmaceuticals are expensive to purchase—they are also effective. New pharmaceuticals are better than older products—they prolong lives and improve the quality of life for millions. In many instances they replace or reduce the need for extended and expensive hospital care and intrusive surgery. To give just one example, modern pharmaceuticals have dramatically improved survival rates for heart patients and reduced the costs of caring for them. However, access to these new treatments is quickly emerging as a huge issue in Canadian healthcare. How do Canadians ensure that the rising demand for existing drugs is met affordably while ensuring that those who invest in creating tomorrow’s wonder drugs are rewarded for their investment?
In these remarks to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health Don McIver, AIMS’ Director of Research, argues that Canadians must be careful the drive to supply today’s patients with low cost medicines doesn’t deprive tomorrow’s sick of the new medicines they need. Limiting access to today’s effective medicines and to the hugely promising medicines of tomorrow may make as much sense as requiring surgeons to employ plastic scalpels—and only issuing the real thing when the plastic ones break!