Rx&D President calls for coordinated efforts to seize opportunities to attract more clinical trials research to Canada
OTTAWA, June 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Rx&D member companies invested $1.1 billion in research and development (R&D) in Canada last year despite an economic recession, a global industry restructuring and patient access gaps for new medicines and vaccines. The innovative pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest single sources of health research in Canada.
"The commitment of our member companies to do research and development for the benefit of Canadians remains strong," says Russell Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D). "Since 1993, Rx&D member companies' total investment in R&D in Canada has averaged over 10% of sales. The commitment made in 1987 was based on a favourable environment of access and reimbursement. That environment has significantly deteriorated and the commitment may no longer be sustainable unless Canada becomes more internationally competitive."
Mr. Williams noted that Canada is losing its competitive edge in attracting clinical trials as indicated in the Sciences and Technology Innovation Council Report on clinical research commissioned by the federal government. In fact, due to deficiencies in the research infrastructure, it is estimated that almost 20% of the committed investments from industry are not used and thus not reported by PMPRB. "Governments, research institutions and industry need to work cooperatively to reduce duplication and coordinate efforts to make our country a global destination for clinical trials research. Clinical trials account for more than 75% of applied research investments in Canada," added Mr. Williams.
In addition, Rx&D calls for improvements to intellectual property protection. "We need a comprehensive approach where innovators can rely on an improved and more stable data protection regime. Our IP protections should be consistent with or better than those of our major trading partners. For example, Canada does not have an effective right of appeal for innovators in patent invalidity proceedings, but does offer an appeal for generics in the same proceedings, creating a one-sided and inequitable system," indicated Mr. Williams.
Reducing the access gap to provide Canadians in all provinces more timely access to new treatments should also be a priority to all governments. A recent Rx&D international study found that Canada ranked 20th out of 25 countries in providing access to new medicines under public drug plans.
"We have the talented people to make Canada a research and innovation powerhouse," Mr. Williams added. "We need a strategy to compete globally and capture a greater share of investment. The time to do it is now."
The PMPRB Report also shows Canadian patients also receive excellent value for their brand name prescription medicine. Price increases were within the rate of inflation which was 0.3% in 2009. Over the past decade, prices for innovative medicines were below the international median.
In contrast, several studies have shown that Canadian generic drug prices are among the highest in the world. For example, the federal Competition Bureau found that Canadians and our health care system could save up to $800 million a year "if generic drugs were sold in a more competitive market. Concerned with high generic drug prices in Canada, the Health Council of Canada released last week a discussion paper to highlight "the complex reasons as to why generic drug prices are so high and the longstanding lack of transparency about how prices are set."
"Working collaboratively, we can develop policies that will create more jobs and investment in the knowledge economy while giving patients choice and improved access to the new medicines and vaccines that improve and save lives," concluded Mr. Williams.
Rx&D is an association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents over 15,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and invests more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.
SOURCE Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)
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