Statement: COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity

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Ottawa, November 25, 2020 – Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC) issued the following statement today in response to questions about Canada’s capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines:

“IMC’s member companies are working closely with the federal and provincial governments to ensure that when COVID-19 vaccines become available, Canadians have equitable and fair access to them.

“Contrary to some recent public statements by the federal government, under normal circumstances Canada does in fact have access to a sufficient quantity of vaccines to meet Canadian requirements, thanks to highly integrated and efficient global supply chain systems, and to the significant manufacturing capacity we have in this country.

“However, global demand for COVID-19 vaccines will be exponentially higher than the largest volume of vaccines ever before produced, which was 450 million doses per year for polio. It is anticipated that given the number of doses needed to effectively vaccinate individuals against COVID-19, between 12 billion and 15 billion doses will be required worldwide.

“Further complicating things is the fact that at least two of the most promising vaccine candidates are based on advanced technology requiring not only highly specialized facilities to produce them, but also specially-trained employees, and specialized transportation and distribution systems. Coupled with the fact that only a handful of manufacturers globally have the capacity to manufacture on this truly unique scale, Canada is not alone in its efforts to maximize existing manufacturing capacity while also working with the global innovative medicines sector so that we can fulfill our commitment to ensuring Canadians have fair and equitable access to the vaccines.

“If Canada wants to grow its domestic manufacturing capacity, we need a regulatory system that is more competitive. The current PMPRB regulatory changes, which come into effect January 1, 2021, are ill timed due to the ongoing pandemic and will not help with respect to Canadian manufacturing capability.

“That is why industry has put forward a proposal to Health Canada – one that includes commitments by industry to invest in expanding Canadian biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity – that would not only help them achieve their public policy objectives, but that would ensure patient access, and encourage investment in the life sciences.

“While we wait for Health Canada’s response, we urge them to delay the January 1, 2021 implementation date until the pandemic is over so that we can focus on fighting COVID-19.”

About Innovative Medicines Canada

Innovative Medicines Canada is the national voice of Canada’s innovative pharmaceutical industry. We advocate for policies that enable the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of all Canadians. We support our members’ commitment to being valued partners in the Canadian healthcare system.

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For further information:

Sarah Dion-Marquis
Director, Media and Public Relations
Telephone: 613-769-6510


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