On March 22, 2023 Neighbourhood Pharmacies commended Health Canada on its newly announced National Strategy for Drugs for Rare Diseases. The new strategy, aimed at improving access to, and affordability of, effective drugs for rare diseases, is a significant step forward in addressing the challenges faced by Canadians living with rare diseases.
As the voice of community pharmacy in Canada, Neighbourhood Pharmacies recognizes the critical role pharmacies play as community health hubs. Pharmacies are the first and most frequent touchpoint most Canadians have with the health system and pharmacy teams are essential in managing medication therapy and ensuring the safe and effective use of medications.
"Rare diseases can be devastating for patients and their families, and access to treatment is often a significant challenge,” says Sandra Hanna, CEO of Neighbourhood Pharmacies. “This strategy will help ensure that drugs for rare diseases are made available, in a timely manner, to all Canadians, regardless of where they live.”
The National Strategy will make available up to $1.4 billion over three years to provinces and territories through bilateral agreements, with the goals of increasing and harmonizing access to drug coverage, supporting patient outcomes and system sustainability, improving data collection to support evidence-based decision making, and increasing investments in innovation and research for rare diseases.
“A national rare disease strategy must preserve the level of care and service that currently exists, but also extend it to those who lack sufficient coverage, or do not have coverage at all through their current drug plan," says Hanna. “We are very pleased to see Health Canada take a bilateral approach to increasing equitable access and look forward to working with our Federal, Provincial and Territorial stakeholders to implement the National Strategy for Drugs for Rare Diseases.”
Download our Press Release below, or read it on the wire.