Compromising the Ability of Quebec Physicians to Effectively Treat Their Patients: AstraZeneca Responds to Quebec's Prescription

Compromising the Ability of Quebec Physicians to Effectively Treat Their 
Patients: AstraZeneca Responds to Quebec's Prescription Medication Price Cap 
for PPIs 
Quebec's recent decision to introduce a maximum price for one drug class will 
lead to public drug plan patients receiving the cheapest drugs in that class, 
even if their doctor has prescribed a completely different one. This 
unilateral decision will have broad implications. 
MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 18, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - AstraZeneca Canada Inc. is 
disappointed by the recent and unexpected decision made by the Minister of 
Health, Social Services and Seniors (MSSS) to significantly change the way 
Quebec patients living with serious gastrointestinal conditions access their 
medications. Despite efforts made by AstraZeneca Canada to partner with the 
government to address budgetary and patient needs, the policy change will 
impact approximately 200,000 patients in Quebec. This change eliminates 
physician and patient choice, undermines physician expertise and has the 
potential to cost the provincial healthcare system more than it saves. 
Beginning October 1, 2013, the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) 
will reimburse the Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) class of medicines up to $0.55 
per pill. This price cap means that unless patients on PPIs are able to pay 
for the difference in cost, many Quebec patients who rely on the full 
reimbursement of these medicines will be forced to switch to an alternative 
treatment regardless of the opinion of their physician, and without any 
reference to the previous experience or current effectiveness of their medical 
This drastic policy change was hastily introduced without thoughtful 
consultation between the Ministry, patients, physicians, pharmacists and other 
healthcare stakeholders impacted by this decision. AstraZeneca Canada is 
extremely disappointed at the speed of the decision, and believes the Minister 
did not take broader healthcare system costs and benefits into account. As 
the experience of other jurisdictions has shown - including British Columbia 
and the United Kingdom - introducing policies that use cost-cutting 
considerations to force patients off of their current, optimal treatment path 
results in higher costs in the broader healthcare system that exceed any 
short-term savings from medicines alone. Adopting such a policy in the face 
of this evidence should be especially concerning to patients and those that 
care for them. 
"Putting patients first and ensuring the integrity of the physician-patient 
relationship is at the core of our reaction to the new policy changes 
introduced by the Quebec Health Ministry", says Elaine Campbell, President, 
AstraZeneca Canada. "We want to ensure that patients have access to the best 
available treatments and that physicians are able to effectively treat their 
patients - practicing patient-centred medicine and not approximate medicine." 
"As a company we take great pride in delivering great medicines that offer 
value to patients, their physicians and the healthcare system. However, this 
cannot be achieved by us alone, which is why on multiple occasions we, along 
with other key stakeholders, actively requested to partner with the Quebec 
government to ensure the health of patients and previous costly experiences of 
other healthcare systems were taken into consideration when making this 
Despite these changes, AstraZeneca Canada remains committed to working with 
governments across the country - including the MSSS, and we encourage the MSSS 
to revisit their decision. AstraZeneca Canada is willing to partner with the 
MSSS to identify solutions that address legitimate concerns about the 
sustainability of our healthcare system without compromising patient care. 
About AstraZeneca Canada
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a 
primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of 
prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, 
respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca 
operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by 
millions of patients worldwide. 
AstraZeneca Canada recently donated $35 million to the NĒOMED Institute - a 
not-for-profit organization that will pioneer a new approach to drug 
development as a public-private partnership with the Quebec government and 
bio-pharmaceutical companies. AstraZeneca's Canadian headquarters are located 
in Mississauga, Ontario. For more information, please visit the company's 
website at 
Carlo Mastrangelo AstraZeneca Canada Inc 905-615-6865 
SOURCE: AstraZeneca 
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CO: AstraZeneca
ST: Quebec
-0- Mar/18/2013 20:19 GMT
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