Atlantic Growth Strategy = Great news for Atlantic’s Bio/life science community

Posted on July 6, 2016

Like most Atlantic Canadians, I was pleased to see a collaborative effort by our Atlantic Premiers and the Federal government with the creation of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. This type of broad strategy to drive economic growth in the region is long overdue by our regional and national leaders.

As the strategy states, the goal is to implement “targeted, evidence-based actions” under five key priority areas – Innovation being one of them. For the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Atlantic Canada, and for this Atlantic Canadian, innovation is the gateway to a solid future for Atlantic Canada’s knowledge-based economy.

Our regional bio/life sciences sector has the potential to drive economic growth under this new strategy. Atlantic Canada is truly the “living lab,” where real-world evidence can be achieved quickly and easily extrapolated to other jurisdictions across Canada.

Our industry introduced Value Demonstration Initiatives (VDIs), which are collaborative projects of multiple Innovative Medicines Canada member companies and provincial governments. We have completed a successful project with the government of Prince Edward Island on treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that resulted in 50% decrease in emergency room visits and a 30% reduction in repeat visits to the emergency room. As well, the project provided cost avoidance to the healthcare enterprise as the length of initial hospital stays was reduced by 1 full day and escalated cases were reduced 3.2 days per patient at an estimated avoidance value of $1200 to $1400 per day. In addition, we have established a project in New Brunswick that will shorten the length of hospital stays for diabetes patients by the creation of standardized clinical order sets.

Innovative Medicines Canada and our members want to engage in more of these types of initiatives that promote healthcare sustainability through improved health outcomes and health policy decision making.

Our industry looks forward to working with regional and national partners to ensure the success of the Atlantic Growth strategy. The future of collaboration should focus on value of the innovation, health and economic outcomes, be integrated, prospective and include total system healthcare costs and effective savings. Together, we can foster health care innovation that will not only benefit Atlantic residents but all Canadians.

Bobby Sutherland is the Director, Atlantic Canada, at Innovative Medicines Canada.

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