Parliamentary Health Committee Recognizes Importance of Self-Care in Pharmacare Report
OTTAWA (April 19, 2018) – Consumer Health Products Canada (CHP Canada) and its members today welcomed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health’s recognition of the value of self-care in its national pharmacare report. The report calls on the federal Minister of Health to improve access to new non-prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for use in self-care by working with her provincial and territorial counterparts to better coordinate their regulation.
“Reducing the delays in access to new medicines for use in self-care can improve overall access to affordable medicines and reduce healthcare costs,” said Karen Proud, CHP Canada’s President. “It’s refreshing to see the Committee recognize this.”
Canadians get new self-care options when prescription drugs that can be used safely and effectively without a prescription are made available over-the-counter through a process known as the “Rx-to-OTC switch.” Medicines like Advil®, Aleve® and Flonase® were all made available for self-care this way. However, Canada lags behind the United States, Europe and Australia on Rx-to-OTC switching by seven to ten years, mainly because of overlapping federal and provincial regulations. The Committee’s recommendation to address this problem is particularly timely in view of Health Canada’s Self-Care Products Framework initiative, which seeks to overhaul the entire regulatory regime for these products.
“We look forward to working with federal and provincial health officials to enhance Canadians’ access to safe and effective self-care options,” said Proud.
A 2017 report by the Conference Board of Canada found that Rx-to-OTC switches can generate huge healthcare cost savings and even improve productivity in the Canadian broader economy. The report found that switches in just three categories of medicines could generate over a billion dollars in annual savings, reducing drug costs by over $400 million, physician costs by $290 million and boosting labour productivity by just under $300 million.
About Consumer Health Products Canada:
CHP Canada is the industry association that represents the companies that make evidence-based over-the-counter medicines and natural health products. These are the products you can find in medicine cabinets in every Canadian home. From sunscreens and vitamins to pain relievers and allergy medications, people use consumer health products to maintain their health and manage their minor ailments. This is a fundamental part of self-care which is vital to the health of Canadians, the sustainability of our health care system and the strength of the economy.
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