Canada’s R&D Pharmaceutical Sector – A Key Partner in Economic Resilience, Recovery, and Growth

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Press Release

Ottawa, June 6, 2023 – Recently released Statistics Canada data demonstrates the economic impact of the innovative research and development (R&D) pharmaceutical sector in Canada. In 2020 alone, the sector supported over 107,000 high-value full-time jobs, generated close to $16 billion in economic activity, and invested $2.4 billion in R&D.

This data highlights the limitations of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board’s (PMPRB) ongoing use of an outdated 1987 Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax definition as a measure of domestic R&D. The PMPRB definition does not include many important contributions, including industry partnerships with hospitals and universities and investments in biotechnology startups – organizations which collectively carry out a significant portion of life sciences R&D in Canada today. Based on Statistics Canada data, Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry has an R&D-to-sales ratio of between 7.7 per cent and 10 per cent, more than twice the ratio reported by the PMPRB.

Additionally, innovative medicines themselves continue to prove their value as enablers of economic resilience. A recent report by the C.D. Howe Institute estimates COVID-19 vaccines not only saved nearly 35,000 lives, but helped to avoid 68,000 hospital stays and saved $156 billion in economic activity in 2021. Today, ongoing vaccination efforts and new therapeutics continue to mitigate the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.

Whether it’s an unprecedented response to a global pandemic, or providing life-saving treatments for cancer, heart disease, and rare disease patients, Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical sector is an important partner to help keep Canadians healthy, grow the economy, and support innovation that will solve current and future health challenges.

About Innovative Medicines Canada

Innovative Medicines Canada is the national association representing the voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. The association advocates for policies that enable the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative medicines and vaccines to improve the lives of all Canadians and supports the members’ commitment to being a valued partner in the Canadian healthcare system. The association represents 49 companies that help fuel Canada’s knowledge-based economy. Guided by the Code of Ethical Practices, all members work with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

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For further information:

Marise Varanda
Director, Media Relations & Content
Telephone: 613-462-5367


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