Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office

From: Health Canada

The Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office (CDATO) is responsible for developing options for a vision, mandate and plan to create a Canadian Drug Agency (CDA).

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About us

The Government of Canada launched the CDATO in spring 2021, to work with provinces, territories and key stakeholders on a vision, mandate and plan to establish a CDA that will improve pharmaceutical system coordination and support related work.

This was supported by a Budget 2019 investment of $35 million over 4 years to establish the CDATO. The December 2021 mandate letter to the Minister of Health and Budget 2022 confirmed this commitment.

Provinces and territories, stakeholders and landmark reports have all underscored the need for federal leadership to address drug system gaps – including inadequate infrastructure, poor return on investment, and fragmentation.

As a result, CDATO was established to advance work on national pharmaceutical objectives and provide dedicated leadership and resources to support federal-provincial-territorial discussions.

Budget 2019 also included initiatives to develop a national formulary and a national strategy for drugs for rare diseases.

Who we work with

The CDATO works with many key health system partners and experts to make sure the CDA reflects diverse insights and needs, including the perspectives of those with lived experiences. These include:

What we've accomplished

Since 2021, we have met with patient advocates, pharmaceutical companies, insurers, prescribers, academics and many others through over 400 meetings and roundtables.

We have received thoughtful advice from provinces, territories, partners and stakeholders on the potential scope and functions of a future CDA. We have heard about pharmaceutical system gaps including:

On December 18, 2023 the Government of Canada announced plans to build the CDA from CADTH, in partnership with provinces and territories. This is supported by an investment of $89.5 million over five years.

The CDA will incorporate and expand on CADTH's expertise in the pharmaceutical sector, including its strong leadership and technical proficiency. The CDA will build on CADTH's existing mandate and functions (health technology assessment, post-market safety and effectiveness), expanding to include new work streams:

To support early development, the CDATO has advanced work across the functional areas of a future CDA.

Next Steps

CDATO will continue to collaborate with CADTH, provinces, territories, partners and other key stakeholders as we support the establishment of the CDA and the development of its core functions.

Contact us

Canadian Drug Agency Transition Office
Strategic Policy Branch
Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building
70 Colombine Driveway
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9

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