When Canada’s health ministers met in Vancouver 10 days ago, they agreed, among other things, to tackle rising drug prices. Unfortunately, there is no sign they are serious.
The main outcome of their discussion was an agreement to pursue bulk purchasing more aggressively. But we’ve been banging that drum for years.
It certainly can’t hurt to pool buying power, but it won’t come anywhere close to resolving the real problem — a power imbalance that massively favours the industry.
Two examples. In 2013 Gilead Sciences Inc. introduced a new medication for hepatitis C, a disease that progressively destroys liver tissue. The drug — Sovaldi — is remarkably effective, ensuring a cure in nine out of 10 patients.