Future of life sciences research in Canada seriously threatened by federal government’s new patented drug pricing regulations

Complicated new regulations will set maximum allowable prices for new medicines too low to justify research and launch of medicines in Canada

Changes will also exacerbate potential for mass diversion of lower-priced Canadian medicines to the United States

EDMONTON, TORONTO and MONTREAL, Aug. 9, 2019 /CNW/ – The federal government’s new regulations for setting the maximum allowable price of patented medicines in Canada, which have just been approved to come into effect next year, pose a serious threat to the future of life sciences across Canada.

Regional life sciences organizations across Canada are gravely concerned that the new regulations will make Canada unattractive for research investments in the life sciences, resulting in a loss of jobs and economic activity but also of progress in medical research and access to new therapies by Canadian patients.

There is broad support for efforts to address affordability challenges, but not at the expense of the life science research that makes new medicines possible and timely patient access to these medicines. The reality is that many new medicines will not be available to Canadians because it will no longer be worthwhile for companies to launch them here. The complex and untried new regulations directly contradict the government’s stated goals of building a knowledge-based economy and of improving patient access to medicines in Canada.

“The government simply has not listened to the very serious concerns of the life sciences research community and industry, not to mention patient groups and Canada’s largest provinces, about the flawed nature of the new regulations and the serious negative impact they will have,” said Dr. Jason Field, President and CEO of Life Sciences Ontario.

Mel Wong, President of BioAlberta, noted, “The regulations will be devastating for Canada’s knowledge-based economy and have negative consequences for all Canadians who depend on timely access to new therapies.”

Frank Béraud, President and CEO of Montréal InVivo, highlighted the concerns he has heard from across the life sciences ecosystem in the province, including biotechnology companies, service companies, research networks and venture capital. “All these organizations work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and in many cases depend on the research investments of the pharmaceutical industry, especially to support high value Canadian jobs,” he said.

Lower mandated prices in Canada will only exacerbate the potential for mass diversion of Canadian prescription drugs to the United States, which has recently approved such importations. Drug shortages for Canadians is already a growing problem here, and the proposed changes can only make them worse.

Canada’s life sciences clusters are among the largest in North America and are key economic drivers, accounting for hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs.

Industry members continue to call for the PMPRB reforms to be suspended in order to support a real process of consultation and dialogue with stakeholders.

About Life Sciences Ontario: LSO is a member-funded, not-for-profit organization advancing Ontario life sciences through advocacy and policy work, educational and networking events, and support services for our sector. For more information: https://lifesciencesontario.ca/

About Montréal InVivo: Montréal InVivo is the Greater Montreal Life Sciences and Health Technology Cluster (LSHT), a non-profit organization for economic development. It aims to create a business environment that fosters innovation and development of public and private organizations in the LSHT sector. For more information: http://www.montreal-invivo.com/en/

About BioAlberta: BioAlberta is a member-driven association that represents the province’s vibrant and diverse life sciences industry, operating through partnerships and collaborations to promote Alberta’s life science sectors, locally, nationally and internationally. For more information: https://www.bioalberta.com

SOURCE Life Sciences Ontario

For further information: Media contact: Jason Field, PhD, President & CEO, Life Sciences Ontario, 7th floor, 350 Bay St., Toronto, ON M5H 2S6, C: 647-821-3392, email: jason.field@lifesciencesontario.ca