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What private plans need to know about Canada’s pipeline in 2024

In its 2024 Drug Pipeline report, TELUS Health draws attention to 12 new drugs due to their expected budget impact on private drug plans. Six will likely have a high impact—and four of them are for weight loss.

The arrival of Wegovy, making headlines around the world due to the high levels of demand, is imminent in Canada. Three more will come over the next two years, each with progressively better results for weight loss.

Next, women’s health—or femtech—is coming to the forefront in pharmaceutical research and development. A medication with a new mechanism of action to treat menopausal symptoms is expected to have a high impact on private plans, potentially offset by improved productivity in the workplace. New, more effective treatments for heavy menstrual bleeding and female sexual arousal disorder are on their way or have recently entered the market, and the first oral medication to treat severe post-partum depression, showing remarkable results in clinical trials, is widely anticipated.

Expectations are also high for a new topical treatment for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (AD), using a mechanism of action that has proven very effective for severe AD. Given the potentially large patient population and much higher price point compared to existing treatments, its impact on private drug plans could be high.  

Canadians with severe alopecia areata resulting in hair loss eagerly anticipate two new treatments that promise to be life changing—and may cost tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Ground-breaking vaccines to treat cancer are on the near horizon. While these vaccines may not directly impact private plans, they are potentially a harbinger of future self-administered oncology vaccines and therapies that would be within the domain of private payers.

On the savings front, lower-cost options for two top-10 drugs will start arriving in pharmacies come the summer. Generics will become available for the leading drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and biosimilars will become available for a biologic that treats inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

See the full 2024 TELUS Health Drug Pipeline report: