Statement - Federal Government must build on the budget with an action plan
to make Canada a global leader in life sciences research and innovation, says

OTTAWA, March 5 /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 4, 2010.

"As the industry that discovers medicines and vaccines that help Canadians live longer, healthier and more productive lives, we acknowledge the Government's intent as expressed in the federal budget to improve Canada's "capacity for world-leading research and development (R&D)." The budget is a starting point that must be followed by bold and concrete policy changes to support the growth of life sciences research in Canada.

"We welcome the budget measures that increase the support for Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the National Research Council Canada Regional Innovation Clusters. We also applaud the Government's farsighted approach by making tax changes under section 116, which will have the capacity to boost the flow of venture capital into Canada for biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies as well as the government's added support for postdoctoral and clinical trials research.

"We acknowledge the need for fiscal restraint as our economy begins to recover from a severe recession. However, this should not restrain our efforts to implement a comprehensive action plan to spark economic growth and make Canada a leader in life sciences research and innovation.

"The need to improve Canada's innovation performance is urgent as clearly shown in the recent reports of the Conference Board of Canada, the Council of Canadian Academies and the Science Technology and Innovation Council. Canadians want us to be world class in life sciences research because they know success means more jobs and investment, a healthier economy and healthier people.

"We agree with the Government's statement that Canada lags behind other advanced economies with respect to overall innovation and the commercialization of research. Our industry welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the Government and other stakeholders as it conducts a review of all federal support for R&D in order to boost innovation and provide more economic opportunities for the private sector. We urge the government to begin with the following measures which do not involve significant expenditures.

    -   Adopt world class intellectual property standards that will encourage
        and protect international investment in life sciences research in

    -   Create a modernized regulatory regime for medicines and vaccines that
        is consistent with best practices internationally and supports timely
        access to innovative therapies.

    -   Lift barriers to innovation by reducing unnecessary red tape and
        regulation so that the right patient has access to the right medicine
        at the right time. This will also help reduce other health care costs
        including surgery and hospitalization.

"Our member companies support thousands of Canadian researchers from the private and public sectors. Partnerships between these sectors are crucial to making Canada a world leader in innovation. Together we can improve outcomes for patients in Canada and throughout the world through the discovery and development of new therapies that will relieve suffering and offer new hope for patients around the world.

"A study commissioned by Rx&D shows that Canada ranks 20th out of 25 OECD countries in public reimbursement of new medicines. Canadian patients deserve better. As partners in health care, we look forward to collaborating with the Government to deliver on its innovation agenda. The result will be better health and greater prosperity for Canadians."

About Rx&D

Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents 18,000 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)

For further information: For further information: François Lessard, Communications, Telephone: (613) 236-0455, E-mail:

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

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