The Pharmaceutical Task Force was chaired by Don Avison,
President of the University Presidents' Council and a
former Deputy Minister of Health in B.C. Its mandate was to
make recommendations in these areas: optimization of the
decision making process for the listing of pharmaceuticals and
devices; procurement and service delivery options; identifying
and strengthening common objectives related to patient care and
choice and building positive relations between decision makers
and industry; the effectiveness of the Common Drug Review (CDR)
process; and the role of the Therapeutics Initiative. The Task
Force received submissions from, and in most cases met directly
with, major stakeholders in the province.
The Task Force made 12 specific recommendations. The key
elements may be summarized as follows:
Priority should be given to developing an enhanced
formulary management system with improved stakeholder
engagement and appeal mechanisms;
The ministry should establish new target guidelines to
improve time-to-listing decisions;
The Drug Benefit Committee should be reconstituted as a
Drug Benefit Council and its membership should be modified to
include at least three public members;
With respect to generic drugs, the ministry should
negotiate or establish new pricing and reimbursement
arrangements and increased competition;
The ministry should be cautious in increasing the use of
tendering processes and ensure that they provide reasonable
levels of patient choice;
With respect to the Common Drug Review, B.C.'s
decision making process should include similar timelines and
a greater level of openness and transparency; and
The government should establish a new Drug Review
Resource Committee to carry out drug submission reviews
currently performed by the Therapeutics Initiative
The TI is a government-funded program delivered through the
University of British Columbia. The Task Force stated it is
"now widely regarded as being in need of either
substantial revitalization or replacement. The Task Force
regards replacement as the better option." If the TI is
continued, the task force recommends it be reformed and its
function should be focused on therapeutic evaluation.
In accepting the Task Force's recommendations, the
government stated that its proposals are aimed at creating a
more streamlined and transparent drug review process while
delivering the best patient outcomes and best value to the
citizens of the province.
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