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As parents feel the strain of mounting RSV cases, Big Pharma price-gouging keeps RSV-prevention drug out of reach.

It’s time for the government to intervene on sky-high pricing for Palivizumab (brand name Synagis).


OTTAWA – With more children getting sick – and the sick getting sicker – a proven preventative drug has been on the market for 24 years— and could save thousands of at-risk children from visiting the emergency room this year, but its price point hasn’t budged.

In the midst of a ferocious respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) season that has seen pediatric hospitals swamped with severely ill children, the Council of Canadians is calling on the federal government and the Patented Medicines Price Review Board (PMPRB) to immediately launch an inquiry into the high price of Synagis, a drug that prevents RSV in at-risk infants.

Synagis, produced by the pharmaceutical company AbbVie, currently costs between $5,000 and $9,000 per child, per RSV season, a mark-up of 27 times the cost of producing the medicine. It’s still as expensive as it was when it first came onto the market 24 years ago, and provinces are spending as much as $43 million per year on the drug. The high price tag means that only the most at-risk infants get the drug, leaving many who are vulnerable – particularly Inuit babies in the Arctic – to struggle through RSV season on their own. “Palivizumab is a perfect illustration of how our public health decisions are warped by Big Pharma’s greed,” said Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Trade and Privatization campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Outrageous pricing like this has to change, but these babies need to be protected right now and the federal government must step in to prevent a disaster.”

There is currently unprecedented pressure on the health care system and it is critically important for any and all preventative treatments to be made available to those who need them. The federal government must investigate why Synagis costs so much and take immediate action to rein in corporate greed and ensure access to this essential medicine.

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For media inquiries:

Nikolas Barry-Shaw
Trade and Privatization Campaigner, The Council of Canadians

Nikolas Barry-Shaw

Nikolas Barry-Shaw

Nikolas is the Trade and Privatization Campaigner for the Council of Canadians and author of the book “Paved with Good Intentions.”

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Protecting children’s health means investigating Big Pharma price-gouging