Access Delayed, Access Denied: Waiting for New Medicines in Canada 2011
This report focuses on new patented medicines because this class of drugs is uniquely affected by public policies that delay access for patients. Because government approval of generic drugs is based on the assumption that generics are copies of new drugs that have previously been approved, there is no substantive delay (observed or expected) before the public has access to generic products; consequently, this class of drugs is not studied in this report.Federal and provincial government policies create unnecessary delays for patients wanting access to new drug treatments. The federal government does not allow patients to use new drugs until Health Canada has reviewed each product?s safety and effectiveness information. The latest data show that in 2009 Health Canada took 472 days on average to approve new drugs, up from 388 days in 2008. Health Canada took longer to approve new drugs than regulators in Europe in all four years studied (2006 to 2009) and longer than the American FDA in five of the last six years studied (2004 to 2009). Relative to other countries, Canadian patients wait too long for government permission to use new drug treatments.