Canadians Want a Gold Medal in Health and Medical Research

New national poll seen as call to action for Governments in Canada

OTTAWA, Jan. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians want to emerge from the middle of the pack and be a global leader in health and medical research, according to an important new survey on health research released today by six leading national health organizations. An overwhelming majority of Canadians say governments should increase funding for health and medical research, despite a weak economy.

The survey, Canada Speaks! 2010: Canadians Go for Gold in Health and Medical Research, updates the results from the landmark Research Canada survey in 2006.

"Even in a recession, Canadians continue to see health and medical research as a top priority, says Dr. Marla Shapiro, Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto and Board Director, Research Canada. "That's because they know it holds promise for improved health outcomes and they believe breakthroughs are on the horizon for major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease."

Dr. Michael Julius, Chair of Research Canada and Vice-President of Research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, adds, "At a time when Canadians identify the economy as the most important issue facing Canadians, 84% of Canadians say health and medical research also makes an important contribution to the economy. A further 90% of Canadians believe basic research should be supported by government even if it brings no immediate benefits."

Survey highlights

    
    -   89% of Canadians believe that Canada should be a global leader in
        health and medical research. However, a majority of Canadians
        understand that Canada is a middle of the pack player among
        industrialized nations.*

    -   84% of Canadians say health and medical research makes an important
        contribution to the economy, recognizing that the economy is the most
        important issue facing Canadians today.

    -   90% of Canadians believe basic research should be supported by
        government, even if the benefits are not immediate.

    -   Nine out of 10 Canadians think it is important for both federal and
        provincial governments to invest in the education and training of
        health and medical researchers; a proportion slightly higher than
        seen in the 2006 survey.

    -   Even in a recession, seven out of 10 Canadians are willing to pay out
        of pocket to improve health and research capacity.

    -   Most Canadians believe breakthroughs for cancer, diabetes, heart
        disease and Alzheimer's are attainable within 10 to 20 years.

    -   Four out of five Canadians agree that the Federal Government should
        support tax and regulatory policies that encourage private industries
        to conduct more medical research.
    

"Canadians recognize that health research is good for the economy and good for patients," says Mr. Jacques Hendlisz, Director General, Douglas Mental Health University Institute and Board Director, Research Canada. "This survey provides direction to any government willing to make the investments needed to go for gold."

The research was conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion between December 7th and 10th, 2009 and involved a random survey of 1,000 adult Canadians. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The six leading health organizations which commissioned the research: Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), BIOTECanada, Canadian Healthcare Association (CHA), Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), MEDEC - Canada's Medical Technology Companies and Research Canada: An Alliance for Health Discovery.

The full results of the Canada Speaks! 2010 survey can be found at www.canadaspeaks2010.ca

    
    * In Canada's Science Technology and Innovation System: State of the
    Nation 2008, the Science Technology and Innovation Council (STIC)
    concluded that Canada is a "mid-level performer" amongst industrialized
    nations.
    

SOURCE RESEARCH CANADA

For further information: For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact: David Rodier, NATIONAL Public Relations, (613) 233-1699 ext 243, drodier@national.ca; Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO, Research Canada, Tel: (613) 234-5129, dgordon@rc-rc.ca

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