Conference of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Health


FrederictonProvincial and Territorial Ministers of Health today accepted the progress report on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy (NPS). They called upon the Government of Canada to commit to an ongoing partnership with provinces and territories to finalize the development and proceed with the implementation of this Strategy.

“First Ministers are expecting a report on progress toward the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy, consistent with the 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care,” said New Brunswick Health Minister Brad Green, chair of the provincial/territorial Conference of Ministers of Health. “Our work with the federal government has brought us to this point. By continuing to work together and building on what we have accomplished, we can ensure that no Canadian suffers undue financial hardship in accessing needed drug therapies.”

Health Ministers reviewed progress on key elements of the strategy and discussed the Progress Report with federal Health Minister Tony Clement via teleconfererence and directed officials to continue work to finalize the text of the report over the coming days.

Provincial and Territorial Ministers agreed to transmit the Progress Report to First Ministers. The report and recommendations will be tabled for review at the Council of the Federation meeting in St. John’s, NL (July 27-28).

“Federal, provincial and territorial governments have worked together over the past two years to advance the agenda of the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy,” said British Columbia Health Minister George Abbott, co-chair of the Ministers’ NPS Task Force. “We want to continue moving forward toward meeting the objectives set by our First Ministers.”

The 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care directed federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Health to establish a ministerial task force to develop and implement the National Pharmaceutical Strategy, with a progress report to First Ministers in 2006. Federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers reaffirmed this commitment at their annual meeting in October 2005.

“With this Progress Report and recommendations, we have met a key milestone in fulfilling our commitment to First Ministers,” said Green. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the federal government on finalizing the strategy and moving toward its implementation.”

Provincial and territorial Ministers of Health have recommended the following actions as next steps in the development and implementation of the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy:

  • Move toward implementation of coverage for catastrophic drug costs by conducting further design and costing analysis on two potential program models;
  • Develop a national framework for expensive drugs for rare diseases in collaboration with experts and move toward staged implementation;
  • Further work toward a common drug formulary through staged expansion of the Common Drug Review, beginning with new indications for existing drugs;
  • Accelerate work toward a common review process for drugs used to treat cancer;
  • Pursue a business management approach to drug-pricing issues through an interjurisdictional framework, with priority given to non-patented drugs;
  • Ensure that changes in the federal government’s Patent Medicine (Notice of Compliance) Regulations and Food and Drug Regulations (Data Protection) meet the NPS goal of accelerating access to non-patented drugs.
  • Consult stakeholders on processes to strengthen real-world safety and effectiveness of drugs.

Earlier this spring, information sessions were held in several communities to inform stakeholders on progress toward development of the NPS. Ministers stated that the involvement of patients, health care professionals, industry as well as private employers and insurers will be a key component of future work on the Strategy.

“We expect that key stakeholders in the pharmaceuticals and insurance industries, as well as health providers and patients, will become more involved as the Strategy moves forward,” said Abbott. “They have an important role to play in ensuring the Strategy’s objectives are appropriately met.”

As understood in both the “10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care” and “Asymmetrical Federalism That Respects Québec’s Jurisdiction”, Québec is maintaining its own pharmacare program and, consequently, is not part of the development of this Strategy. Québec is however open to sharing information and best practices.

Ministers also discussed the importance of electronic health records in advancing the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy and other areas of health care reform. Ministers urged the federal government to provide renewed funding to Canada Health Infoway to meet this important objective. Information technology is key to success in implementing and managing health care systems improvements over the long-term. In his recent report, Dr. Brian Postl, Federal adviser on wait times, stressed the need for additional funds for Canada Health Infoway as an important element of wait time reduction.


Media Inquiries:
Communications Branch
New Brunswick Department of Health
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