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NB Bulletin Vol. 6 N. 3, March 2003
A new drug marketed as Evra should soon be available in pharmacies. It is a contraceptive which is available only upon prescription. What is unique about this new drug is that it is the first skin patch in this category of drugs.
The announcement of the new drug was met with a certain apprehensiveness¸ namely¸ its impact on the cost of private group insurance plans. Consequently¸ we have outlined below some details about this product.
The patch is applied weekly and provides protection similar to oral contraceptives currently on the market. Evra´s only real advantage¸ compared to traditional oral contraceptives¸ is that it is more difficult to forget to apply the patch once a week.
In December 2002¸ Health Canada gave Evra´s manufacturer the permission to market the new product. Therefore¸ it was expected to be sold in Canada starting in January 2003. This¸ however did not happen. The manufacturer has inform us that a launch date has not yet been set although the drug should be available sometime in 2003.
According to the Régie de l´Assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)¸ it has not received an application as to add Evra on the list of drugs covered by Quebec´s general drug insurance plan for the February or the June 2003 update. Consequently¸ the RAMQ will not make any decision in this regard before October 2003. If the RAMQ decides to add Evra to its list of covered drugs¸ private plans will have no choice but to cover it as well.
Since we do not yet have any information about the retail price of this contraceptive patch or the RAMQ´s decision whether to include it on its list¸ it is difficult at this time to evaluate the impact this new drug will have on the cost of private group insurance plans. Oral contraceptives account for approximately 5% of present drug costs¸ whereas as a whole¸ drugs account for approximately two-thirds of the cost of a health insurance plan.
Therefore¸ the financial consequences on group insurance plans should not be significant.
We will keep you posted of any development in regard to the sale and cost of Evra¸ as well as RAMQ´s decision in this matter.
Please feel free to contact us for additional information.
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