Canada may see gene therapy soon

April 21, 2020 – Telus Health

April 21, 2020 – Telus Health

Canada may see its first gene therapy by the end of this year. The treatment is for a very rare eye disorder, affecting just 100 to 200 Canadians, and comes at an estimated price of $1 million for both eyes.

For larger patient populations, the 2020 TELUS Health Drug Pipeline report states that the two drug launches most likely to have an impact on private plans are in the areas of diabetes and depression. In both cases, the new therapies are for patients who struggle to manage their condition despite efforts to use existing therapies. While both are priced relatively much higher than first-line therapies, their potential to offset other healthcare costs, including absenteeism and lost productivity, is high.

In the cancer category, researchers continue to find success in the development of targeted treatments based on genetic markers. The recent approval of Canada’s second tumour-agnostic cancer drug—which means it can target tumours regardless of their location in the body—is of particular note for private plans, for two reasons. First, their capsule format positions private plans as the likely first payer. Second, reimbursement decisions are uniquely complex because cost calculations vary based on the type of tumour.

Rounding out this year’s pipeline report are medications for influenza, inflammatory disease and erectile dysfunction. Also included are updates on developments in biosimilar and generic drugs, and a sneak peek at what may be on the horizon.

Click here for the full 2020 TELUS Health Drug Pipeline report.