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Is Canada losing its status as a priority medicine launch country?

Is Canada losing its status as a priority medicine launch country?

Canada has long been considered a priority country for new medicine launches. However, ongoing, and unpredictable changes to the pharmaceutical policy environment have caused market uncertainty, which has impacted Canada’s ability to maintain this status. To help inform and contribute to this discussion, Life Sciences Ontario commissioned a study to update research from 2020 to determine whether Canada has seen further changes to its global standing.

The report highlights several concerning developments, including:

  • The number of new drugs launched in Canada has declined steadily since 2016, whereas global launches have increased on average. From 2017-2021, there were an average of 34 annual new medicine launches globally but an average of just 20 per year in Canada.
  • The median time to launch in Canada has more than doubled recently, from 1 year in 2020 to 2.1 years in 2021, which places Canada ninth out of the top 23 countries, compared to a ranking of fourth over the past 20 years.
  • The majority of medicines not commercialized in Canada were for rare diseases and cancer.

Moving forward, we have an opportunity to aim higher by leveraging multiple life sciences strategies across Canada to improve the policy and commercial environment and reverse many of the trends we have seen in recent years.

The full results of the research are available in ENGLISH and FRENCH.