The Canadian Press
Ottawa: Health Minister Jane Philpott is announcing consultations on a suite of proposed regulatory changes related to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.

Philpott says the board was created 30 years ago to protect consumers and to ensure companies do not use monopolies to charge excessive costs.

She says, however, the board is limited in its ability to protect consumers from high drug prices, a problem the federal government wants to address.

Philpott notes, for example, that the board benchmarks Canadian prices against seven other countries.

But she says countries used in the comparisons have some of the highest prices in the world, including the United States, where patented drugs cost twice as much as in Canada.

Philpott says Canadian drug spending has ballooned by 184 per cent since 2000 as a share of gross domestic product, faster than in all the comparison countries.