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October 16, 2020

Canada’s nurses urge patented medicine regulatory body to stand its ground

Media Release

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is calling on the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) to move ahead with new regulations and their accompanying guidelines in the face of growing pressure from the pharmaceutical industry and certain industry-funded patient groups.

“We are concerned that the PMPRB failed to release their guidelines, yesterday, for regulations coming into effect on January 1, 2021,” said Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions. “Given the lack of justification for this delay, we are worried that the regulatory body is bowing to mounting industry pressures to stymie these necessary changes.”

The PMPRB is a regulatory body tasked with ensuring patented medicines sold in Canada are not excessively priced. The implementation of these long-anticipated reforms, which would make patented medicines significantly more affordable for Canadians, have been subject to previous delays.

Federal Health Minister, Patty Hajdu, recently stated that she is not open to any further regulatory delays.

“We’re encouraged by Minister Hajdu’s stance, but we would like to see the guidelines to these new regulations released in earnest,” said Silas.

“It’s high time we put people before profits — the health of Canadians before corporate greed. Big Pharma and other special interests that oppose affordable medicines can fearmonger all they want, but their attempts at misinformation have repeatedly been debunked by the PMPRB.”

The regulatory changes are expected to save Canadians an estimated $13 billion over the next decade and set the stage for the implementation of a public, single-payer universal pharmacare program.

“It is time for the PMPRB to confidently move ahead with their vital work,” concluded Silas. “We can’t have any more delays; the guidelines must swiftly be released ahead of January 1, 2021, when the regulations are slated to take effect.”

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The CFNU is Canada’s largest nurses’ organization, representing nearly 200,000 nurses and student nurses, and advocating on key health priorities.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Lauren Snowball,, 613-868-5702
Ben René,, 613-406-5962 (français)