Innovative Medicines Canada statement on Federal Budget 2024

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Ottawa, April 16, 2024 – Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC) remains concerned that the government’s proposed pharmacare model will not increase access to new medicines for Canadians, who currently have slower and more limited access to life-saving and life-enhancing treatments compared to patients in peer nations. IMC is committed to working collaboratively with the federal government to ensure Canadians have better and more timely access to innovative medicines and treatments.

“Moving provinces and territories towards a single-payer pharmacare system would ultimately reduce the quality of drug coverage for most Canadians and drive away essential future drug launches and life sciences investments from Canada,” said Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President of Innovative Medicines Canada.

Despite announcing a National Strategy for Drugs for Rare Diseases with funding of up to $1.5 billion over one year ago, IMC notes that the federal government has yet to sign bilateral agreements with the provinces, leaving patients waiting for improved access to potentially life-saving treatments.

In addition, Budget 2023 committed $640 million over 5 years to help the Public Health Agency of Canada maintain its core capacities and secure new antimicrobials for Canadians. The government has yet to confirm how this funding will be utilized and how much of it will be used to secure new antimicrobials. Canadians expect to see more tangible action taken to address antimicrobial resistance and a clear investment in a pull incentive model.

IMC also notes that additional funds to support Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which aims to rebuild a strong and resilient domestic biomanufacturing and life sciences sector in Canada, were not included in the budget. However, IMC applauds additional funding for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to increase core research grant funding and support Canadian researchers.

Finally, and positively, Budget 2024 signals the government’s intent to amend the Food & Drugs Act to provide the Health Minister with the authority to rely on information or decisions from foreign regulatory authorities in specific instances – a measure that, subject to its implementation, would improve Canada’s drug approval process.

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 48 companies that invest nearly $1.4 billion in R&D annually, fueling Canada’s knowledge-based economy, while contributing $8 billion to Canada’s 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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