Quebec 2015-2016 Budget: Rx&D welcomes fiscal discipline and biopharma working group, but the decrease in government spending on medicines is questioned

MONTREAL, March 27, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Russell Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), welcomes the 2015-2016 Quebec Budget, noting the fiscal discipline and the establishment of a working group on the biopharmaceutical industry. However, the association is concerned about the decline of the medicines budget.

"We commend the government's intent to strive for a balanced budget this year, and the announcement of measures to promote Quebec's economic development is encouraging," said Mr. Williams. "We are delighted with the creation of a working group on the biopharmaceutical industry in Quebec and the government's recognition of our industry's evolving business model."

Rx&D hopes that the biopharmaceutical industry working group will become permanent and involve Deputy Ministers, Ministers and the Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS). According to Rx&D, the goals of the working group should be to instill coherence and coordination of government actions in the biopharmaceutical industry; to set up structural measures to attract more R & D in Québec; to improve the integration of innovation in the healthcare system; and to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability.

"By recognizing our industry as a key sector of our economy because of our activities and our high value-added jobs, the government sends an encouraging message for the future," added Mr. Williams.

Although growth in drug public spending in Quebec has decreased in recent years, particularly following the implementation of several control spending measures, Rx&D wonders how the government intends to achieve a 0.3 % spending reduction on pharmaceutical services and medicines in 2015-2016.

"We hope that decisions regarding the medicines budget will have no impact on patient health and safety and will be based on scientific and clinical criteria and not strictly on economic ones," said Mr. Williams.

Rx&D agrees to continue ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of Quebec's drug insurance plan and offers its full cooperation to enhance optimal use of medicines programs in Quebec, asking the government to act in consultation with key stakeholders, including the industry. In addition, the government will have to avoid restricting the free choice of health professionals to provide drug therapies while preventing therapeutic replacement measures.

Rx&D finds the government should ensure that pharmaceutical innovations go to patients and considers that the provisions of Bill 28 relating to drug listing agreements, when required, should not only generate savings in the drug insurance fund, but also provide for the development of value-added programs, such as for optimal use of medicines and treatment adherence.

The pharmaceutical research industry:

  • has generated more than $1.3 billion in 2013 for the Quebec economy;
  • has invested, on average, $462 millions in R&D annually in Quebec, over the last decade which represents 43 % of total investments in Canada – a higher rate that Quebec demographic weight in Canada and of Quebec's share of industry sales in Canada; and
  • represents a key component of the Quebec life sciences ecosystem, where all members helped create more than 51,000 direct and indirect jobs in Quebec in 2013 which, when compared to the average of all productive sectors in Quebec, create 27 % more added value, offers wages 66 % higher and generates 48 % more tax revenue per job.

About Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies

Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies is the national association representing the voice of Canada's innovative pharmaceutical industry. We serve our membership by advocating for policies that enable the discovery, development and delivery of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve the lives of all Canadians. We support our memberships' commitment to being a valued partner in the Canadian healthcare system. We represent more than 50 companies investing over $1-billion in R&D annually, fuelling Canada's knowledge-based economy, while contributing over $3-billion overall to Canada's economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, we work with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

 

SOURCE Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)

For further information: Frédéric Alberro, Director, Quebec, Rx&D, Telephone: 514-241-7784, E-mail: falberro@canadapharma.org

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