Statement - Canadians will benefit from Focus on health sciences in Federal Budget, says Rx&D

    OTTAWA, March 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement by Russell
Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies
(Rx&D), on the Federal Budget presented by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on
March 19, 2007 in the House of Commons.
    "Rx&D applauds the federal government's support for initiatives that will
promote innovation in life sciences in Canada, and increase medical aid to the
developing world. The budget also contains measures aimed at streamlining the
regulatory system which have the potential to improve our health-care system
and promote better access for Canadians to new medicines and vaccines.
    "The budget also introduced an innovative tax incentive to encourage the
private sector to donate medicines and other health products to help people in
the developing world. We strongly support this announcement which will bring
healing and hope to the world's most vulnerable people. This fulfills a
recommendation made by the humanitarian aid agency Health Partners
International of Canada (HPIC). Our member companies contributed toward the
first shipment of humanitarian relief by HPIC in 1990. Since then, Rx&D member
companies have provided $145 million in donated medicines to HPIC for
distribution in nearly 120 countries.
    "Rx&D welcomes the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for new pneumococcal
vaccines, the launch of a national human papillomavirus vaccine program for
cervical cancer, the creation of a Canadian Mental Health Commission, and the
additional funding for Canada Health Infoway.
    "Rx&D has noted the federal government's decision to continue to fund
Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian
Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and government agencies that provide
scholarships for post-secondary students. These initiatives will help keep our
best and brightest minds in Canada.
    "As part of its budget commitment to a wait time strategy, we encourage
the federal government to include access to innovative medicines in order to
improve the health of Canadians and as an effective way to reduce other wait
    "Our community also welcomes the opportunity to work with the federal
government to improve the regulatory environment as stated in the budget. This
could lift barriers that impede access to new medicines and vaccines and
improve patient health outcomes. Furthermore, it will build upon the
initiative already taken by the government on competitive data protection by
improving Canada's ability to attract innovation and research.
    "We also invite the federal government to move forward as quickly as
possible to enhance the Scientific Research and Experimental Development
(SR&ED) tax credit to reward and promote innovation. Extending the SR&ED tax
credit will stimulate R&D alliances needed to bring innovative products to
    "Finally, we look forward to working with the federal government to
develop a robust science and technology strategy, which is critical to
Canada's future prosperity."

    Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) is an association
of members dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians. As partner of
the health-care system, our discoveries help eliminate the need for medical
procedures such as surgery, which have a significant impact on patient quality
of life and health-care budgets. Our community represents over 22,000 men and
women working for more than 50 member companies in Canada and is responsible
for generating 100,000 jobs across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: François Lessard, Communications, (613)

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

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