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Healthc Policy. 2013 May;8(4):45-55.

Use of product listing agreements by Canadian provincial drug benefit plans.

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Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health, Associate Director, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.



Product listing agreements (PLAs) between drug manufacturers and drug plans are increasingly common worldwide. Use of PLAs by Canadian provinces has not previously been documented.


We collected data from all provinces on funding and PLA use for 25 drugs that were reviewed by the Common Drug Review (CDR) in 2010 or 2011 and funded by at least one province as of May 2012. We measured correlations between coverage and PLA use, and CDR recommendations and PLA use.


The number of drugs from our sample funded by provinces ranged from three in Prince Edward Island to 21 in Ontario. PLA use ranged from zero in Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador to 20 in Ontario. The correlation between drugs funded and PLAs used by each province was statistically significant (r=0.57, p=0.04); excluding Ontario, however, the correlation was not significant (r=0.10, p=0.40). There was a stronger correlation between the number of provinces funding a drug and the number using PLAs among the subset of drugs with negative CDR recommendations (r=0.87, p<0.01) versus those with positive recommendations (r=0.52, p=0.03). Of the 12 drugs sampled with a negative CDR recommendation, 10 were funded with a PLA in at least one province.


There is wide interprovincial variation in PLA use and evidence that PLAs may be used to fund drugs that are not otherwise cost-effective. If global pricing strategies are making PLAs necessary, Canadian governments should collaborate to improve the equity, transparency and effectiveness of PLAs across provinces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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