Analysis of Drug Coverage Before and After the Implementation of Canada's Drug Review

John-Michael Gamble, Daniala L. Weir, Jeffrey A. Johnson, Dean T. Eurich
Research Summary: 

Canada's Common Drug Review was implemented to provide publicly funded drug plans (provincial and federal) with a transparent, rigorous and consistent approach for assessing the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new drugs. We compared uptake of drug coverage across jurisdictions before and after the implementation of the Common Drug Review.

Using the IMS Brogan formulary acceptance: monitoring and evaluation database, we identified new drug products in Canada five years before and five years after the first recommendation was made by the Common Drug Review. For each jurisdiction, we compared the proportion of drugs listed, the median time-to-listing and the agreement between the listing decisions of the drug plans and the recommendations of the Common Drug Review.

We identified 198 new drugs approved for use in Canada between May 26, 1999, and May 27, 2009, of which 53 had a recommendation from the Common Drug Review. The proportion of drugs listed decreased after the introduction of the Common Drug Review for all participating drug plans (81.1% to 71.3% overall [p ≤ 0.01 for all plans, with the exceptions of Ontario and Quebec [p = 0.07]). The change in median time-to-listing between the periods before and after the Common Drug Review varied by jurisdiction, ranging from a decrease of 691 days to an increase of 250 days. The change in median time-to-listing was not statistically significant for most jurisdictions, with the exceptions of Saskatchewan (increased, Mann-Whitney U test p = 0.01) and New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador (all decreased, Mann-Whitney U test p < 0.01).

There was a decline in the proportion of new drugs listed after the introduction of the Common Drug Review for both participating and nonparticipating jurisdictions. The introduction of the review was associated with a decreased time-to-listing for certain smaller provinces.