Weekly Top Stories: Healthcare Quality, Apotex’s Apo-Amoxi Shortage, pCPA’s CEO

Published on
September 11, 2023
Written by
Delphic Research
Read time
5 min

This week has brought a whirlwind of developments across the Canadian life sciences sector. Here are some important stories shaping the landscape, ranging from healthcare quality comparisons to critical budget allocations and reforms:

Dr. G. B. John Mancini, a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, highlights that Canada, with its universal healthcare system, maintains high-quality healthcare. Despite Canada's province-specific drug coverage contrasting with the more universal drug coverage under Medicare in the U.S., both countries grapple with common challenges regarding access and costs of advanced medications, which include rising out-of-pocket expenses for patients lacking drug coverage, impacting access to essential medications.

Despite Canada's commitment to high-quality healthcare, it faces an ongoing challenge in the form of medication shortages. Drug Shortages Canada has reported a persistent scarcity of Apotex's Apo-Amoxi 125 mg (amoxicillin for oral suspension). This shortage, which began on August 9, 2022, was originally anticipated to conclude on September 1, 2023. However, the latest update extends the estimated end date to September 15, 2023. Apo-Amoxi 125 mg plays a crucial role in treating certain infections and is classified as a Tier 3 drug in Canada due to its substantial impact on the nation's drug supply and healthcare system.

To add to this, after a trial of metformin, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) has started a streamlined drug class review of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors in type 2 diabetes mellitus. This is in response to requests from public drug programs to find out how best to use these drugs. CADTH has also temporarily suspended reimbursement assessments for Pfizer Canada's elranatamab and GlaxoSmithKline's Jemperli, and commenced a health technology evaluation for Novocure Canada's Optune, with a specific emphasis on its use in treating supratentorial glioblastoma.

But amidst these challenges, Canada is making strides with advancements in the sector. The federal government has recently allocated nearly $1.3 million in funding from Health Canada's Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund. This funding is poised to support projects led by the Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Black, African, and Caribbean Network. Their shared mission is to broaden access to critical sexual and reproductive health services across the Prairies. Aside from addressing sexual and reproductive health, the government has launched public consultations for the second legislative review of the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA). This review seeks to tackle issues associated with tobacco use while emphasizing public health and regulatory measures.  

Canada is also taking proactive steps to bolster its preparedness for emergencies. The National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) is undergoing a transformation aimed at enhancing the nation's readiness for future crises. A new plan is on the horizon, set to be unveiled next spring. This reform places priority on critical aspects such as personal protective equipment, electronic inventory management, and fostering stronger collaboration with provincial partners. These measures are designed to create a more resilient supply chain and minimize waste, drawing insights from the challenges highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More great news as pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) welcomes Douglas Clark, former Patented Medicine Prices Review Board executive director, as its first CEO starting from September 11, 2023. His role includes leading the pCPA in accordance with its existing Strategic Plan 2022–2024 and prioritizing improvements in negotiation processes and collaboration with public and private sector partners.

Canada's life sciences sector remains dynamic and continuously evolving, characterized by its dedication to quality, accessibility, and innovation. This week's developments highlight the progress made and the ongoing challenges that continue to shape this critical sector.

Feed your strategy. Every Morning. Visit us at Delphic Research or book a consultation to delve deeper into these stories and stay informed about the latest developments.

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