Life sciences organizations call for collaboration across government to improve outcomes for patients

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Press Release

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Ottawa, October 4, 2021—Canadians look to the 44th Parliament to apply lessons learned from COVID-19 to protect current and future generations. This includes building healthcare systems equipped for both exceptional and everyday circumstances. To be successful, we believe the government needs to partner with the entire health ecosystem in a way that leverages multiple strengths. Life science stakeholders, in particular, can play a central role in addressing current challenges, while delivering significant economic benefits including investment and jobs. Building back better will also require a cooperative approach across cabinet to recognize these benefits and, most of all, the value of access to treatments and therapies for Canadian patients and families.

With a view to collaboratively building a vibrant life sciences sector in Canada, we call on the Prime Minister to consider the following mandates for key members of the new cabinet:

  • The Minister of Health, together with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Minister of Economic Development, to work together to establish a predictable regulatory environment that aligns with investments in industry to ensure timely access to medicines for all Canadians, and to realize the economic value of growing Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry in Canada.
  • The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to work in a whole-of-government approach to the life science innovation ecosystems in Canada, to support job creation, technology adoption, post-secondary partnerships, R&D investment, scale-up and strategically positioning Canada within the global pharmaceutical supply chain.
  • The Minister of Health, together with the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the President of the Treasury Board of Canada, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to support life sciences innovation at home and abroad through international regulatory harmonization and by supporting intellectual property protection with the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.
  • The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry together with the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and the Minister of Health to highlight and champion domestic strengths within the life science ecosystem, including artificial intelligence advancements, and stem cell and regenerative medicine leadership.
    • Increased promotion of Canada’s universities and colleges and their existing and globally recognized medical, biomedical, software and computer engineering faculties.
  • The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry together with the Minister of Economic Development, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and the Minister of Health prepare Canada for future pandemics.
    • This includes incentives for the development of and access to new antibiotics to address anti-microbial resistance threats, an agile regulatory system, biomanufacturing capacity, and strong data collection resources protocol aligned with the provinces and territories, and greater collaboration with Canada’s healthcare systems.

To achieve all the above, it is imperative that government:

  • Institute a moratorium on the implementation of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB)’s regulatory changes and work collaboratively and constructively with patient groups, industry, and other stakeholders towards a regulatory approach that balances pricing considerations with timely access to new medicines for Canadians.
  • Establish a regulatory approach that enshrines and fosters innovation in health sciences, protects intellectual property through international agreements, increases access to clinical trials for patients, and increases the availability of new medicines to Canadians.
  • Commit to “whole-of-government” policies that impact the life sciences sector by recognizing the complexity, competitiveness, and value of the sector. A life sciences strategy for Canada is required that considers Canada’s policy and regulatory environment in a holistic way and is harmonized with provincial and territorial needs and strategies.
  • Establish a comprehensive pan-Canadian strategy for drugs for rare diseases co-created with provincial and territorial governments to better support patients’ access to lifesaving medicines.

The initiatives and investments already announced by government recognize the strategic importance of a strong domestic life sciences sector. We look forward to continuing to build a partnership with government and other stakeholders to ensure robust, resilient healthcare systems and a strong, competitive life sciences sector ready to meet future challenges.

Signatories to the news release include the following organizations:

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 47 companies who invest nearly $1.2-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:

Corinne Crichlow
Director, Media and Public Relations


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