The Government of Canada has announced the creation of the Canadian Drug Agency (CDA). According to the government, the CDA “will provide the dedicated leadership and coordination needed to make Canada’s drug system more sustainable and better prepared for the future, helping Canadians achieve better health outcomes.”

As we reported, the genesis of the CDA dates back to the recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare and the federal government’s 2019 Budget Plan. In Budget 2019, the government allocated $35 million over four years to establish the Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office (CDATO), which was tasked with developing a vision, mandate, and plan for the CDA.

The CDA will be built from the existing Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) in partnership with the provinces and territories (P/T). CADTH is a health technology assessment body that provides non-binding recommendations on drug reimbursement to P/Ts. Each P/T decides which drug products will be made available for public reimbursement in its jurisdiction.

The government’s announcement explains:

The CDA will build on CADTH’s existing mandate and functions (health technology assessment, post-market safety and effectiveness) and expand them to include new work streams including:

  • Improving the appropriate prescribing and use of medications, for better patient health and to support system sustainability;
  • Increasing pan-Canadian data collection and expanding access to drug and treatment data, including real-world evidence data, to better support patients, inform health decisions and enable robust system data analytics; and
  • Reducing drug system duplication and lack of coordination that causes expensive inefficiencies and pressures.

While the government was expected to introduce related pharmacare legislation this year, the House of Commons has now adjourned for the year without a bill being tabled.