Connect with us

Health

Big pharma might cut R&D, delay new drugs if pharmacare means more generics: memo

Published

7 minute read

OTTAWA — Brand-name drug companies could put off introducing new medicine in Canada and scale back research here if the country makes a major shift to cheaper generic alternatives under a national pharmacare plan, according to an internal federal analysis.

The concerns were included last year in a briefing document for federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau that explored the feasibility and costs of a pharmacare program.

Pharmacare is shaping up as a key campaign issue in the October election, particularly for the Liberals.

The Finance Department’s analysis was created a few days before Morneau’s 2018 budget officially launched an advisory group on Canada-wide pharmacare, which the Liberals say will cut costs and improve Canadians’ access to prescription drugs. The document said more information is needed to fully understand how national pharmacare would affect drug spending in Canada — and what it would mean for revenues and business operations for the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

In its look at the Canadian industry, the briefing note to Morneau said national pharmacare could influence the revenues of drug companies in several ways. Among the possibilities, it said a shift in favour of more generic drugs, mass-produced after patent protections for new medications expire, could lower costs.

But that could come with a cost for patients.

“For example, brand-name pharmaceutical companies may respond to a broad shift to generic drugs by delaying the introduction of new drugs in the Canadian market or by reducing the R&D activities that they undertake in the country,” said the analysis, labelled “secret,” which was obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information law.

“Innovative Medicines Canada, which represents pharmaceutical patent holders, has warned that a national pharmacare program focused on cost containment may result in reduced access to medicines for Canadians.”

The president of Innovative Medicines Canada said her members, which include multinational drug companies, fully support the role of generics. Some of the firms produce generic drugs as well, Pamela Fralick said in an interview.

Fralick said drug companies are eager for more details on Canada’s eventual pharmacare plan — but she stressed there’s a far bigger issue for the industry right now: regulatory reform.

In late 2017, the Liberal government proposed changes to the regulations governing patented medicines as a way to drive down drug prices. The update, which has yet to be put into force, would be the first major change to those rules in more than two decades.

The proposal calls for an expanded list of countries Canada can use when comparing patented drug prices. It also includes new factors for the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, a quasi-judicial body operating at arm’s length from the government, to take into consideration when assessing whether a drug is overpriced.

Fralick argued that the proposed reforms need improvement. It they proceed as written, she said companies could suffer a hit to their bottom lines of between 30 and 70 per cent.

“(They’re) making drug-launch decisions, investment decisions, et cetera, based on what happens to this particular environment.”

With all the uncertainty, companies have been holding back on bringing investment to Canada until the regulatory environment has been settled, Fralick added.

Beyond the risk of missing out on investment dollars, she said if unfriendly conditions encourage companies to look elsewhere, new drugs could be delayed years before they get to Canada.

The briefing to Morneau said research and development investments by pharma companies in Canada already “significantly lag” spending in other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 34 countries with advanced economies.

The ratio of sales to R&D for all patentees fell again in 2017, to 4.1 per cent. That’s a decrease of 65 per cent since its high point of 11.7 per cent in 1995, according to numbers from the price-review board. The industry invested $870 million in 2017 and employed 29,870 people, said the board.

“Since 2003, industry investment in R&D has been less than 10 per cent of sales — the target that the pharmaceutical industry committed to in exchange for more favourable patent terms in Canada,” said the briefing to Morneau.

Fralick disputed the argument that innovative drug companies have been falling short on investment. The PMPRB formula doesn’t capture major industry investments in university research chairs and through venture-capital channels, she said.

“There’s just a whole range of research going on in Canada that is not being counted,” she said, insisting that many of her members are “well above” the 10-per-cent target. “It’s unfortunate, there is a bit of tension right now with the industry right now.”

The cost of national pharmacare is expected to be steep.

An analysis by the parliamentary budget officer estimated a broad coverage regime would carry a $20-billion-a-year price tag. Recent work by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that Canadians spent $39.8 billion on drugs in 2018, about $33.7 billion of it on prescription medication.

It’s the fastest-growing component of health spending, as Canadians live longer and spend more years with chronic conditions.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Storytelling is in our DNA. We provide credible, compelling multimedia storytelling and services in English and French to help captivate your digital, broadcast and print audiences. As Canada’s national news agency for 100 years, we give Canadians an unbiased news source, driven by truth, accuracy and timeliness.

Follow Author

Alberta

Final weekend to see $880,000 dream home and buy tickets to win Red Deer Hospital Lottery

Published on

85% SOLD

Red Deer Hospital Lottery

CHECK OUT OUR GREAT TICKET PACKAGES

$25 EACH | 5 FOR $75 | 10 FOR $125 | 25 FOR $250

BUY NOW

Total value of the Dream Home prize package is $880,619!

Your purchase of a Red Deer Hospital Lottery ticket will directly benefit our tiniest patients.
VIEW THE VIRTUAL TOUR HERE

Our Dream Home is open for viewing!
Saturday June 19 and Sunday June 20
(1:00 pm to 5:00 pm each day)

 

Dads! Enter to win a Father’s Day gift basket valued at $400


Plus, Real Country and Z98.9 will be on site June 20 

The Mega Bucks 50 jackpot is the highest ever!
Some ticket packages are still available.

MEGA BUCKS %)

1 for $10   ·   10 for $25
25 for $50   ·   50 for $75

Win half of the current jackpot of:

$784,725

BUY NOW

If you’ve ordered your tickets prior to receiving this email, thank you and good luck!

If you know someone who would like to show their support for our hospital, click below to forward this email to a friend.

Forward to a Friend

CALL RED DEER & AREA OR TOLL FREE
403.340.1878      1.877.808.9005
Continue Reading

Alberta

Location for Red Deer Recovery Centre revealed. First clients will be accepted late this year.

Published on

News Releases from the Province of Alberta and the City of Red Deer

Red Deer recovery community moving ahead

A 10-acre parcel of land in north Red Deer will be the new home of the 75-bed recovery community.

Alberta’s government and the City of Red Deer worked together to pick the location within the Chiles Industrial Park, directly adjacent to Highway 2A. Construction of the recovery community is anticipated to start this fall.

“Supporting people to find their path to long-term recovery remains a commitment of our government – but we can’t reach this goal alone. Thank you to the City of Red Deer for their dedication to working together to find a site that considers the needs of those seeking support, businesses, local residents and the community as a whole.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Thanks to the work of officials at Alberta Infrastructure, in partnership with the City of Red Deer, we are another step closer to having a new home to better support Albertans suffering from addictions on their path to recovery.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

Recovery communities, also known as therapeutic communities, are a form of long-term residential treatment for addiction and used in more than 65 countries around the world.

“The identification of the location of the future therapeutic community marks an important next step towards a solution to many of the health and social challenges our community has contended with for years due to lack of comprehensive health and social infrastructure and programming in our city and region. This project will help respond to the long-standing need for local residential addictions treatment to help address community impacts of the national drug crisis.”

Tara Veer, mayor, City of Red Deer

“This announcement means we are one step closer to adding this life-saving support to our community. While new to Alberta, recovery communities have proven to be effective in helping individuals reach long-term addiction recovery. I look forward to the positive difference this new support will have.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education and MLA for Red Deer-North

“Addictions have the capacity to disconnect our wills and rob us of the power to decide, inflicting suffering on ourselves, our families and communities. I’m proud to be part of a government focused on supporting Albertans seeking to become free from addictions. Recovery communities are special places, where individuals love and serve each other in their individual journeys to recovery. These are places of miracles, blessing and healing our neighbours, families and communities. This is very exciting news!”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

Alberta’s government is committed to a recovery-oriented system of care that provides easy access to a full continuum of services. A $140-million investment over four years is supporting the addition of new publicly funded treatment spaces; the elimination of daily user fees for publicly funded residential addiction treatment; and services to reduce harm, such as the Digital Overdose Prevention System app, the introduction of nasal naloxone kits and the expansion of opioid agonist therapy.

This $140-million commitment is in addition to the more than $800 million Alberta Health Services spends annually to provide mental health and addiction services in communities across the province.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government is investing in mental health and addictions:
    • $140 million over four years to enhance the mental health and addiction care system and create more publicly funded treatment spaces. This funding includes $40 million specifically to support the opioid response.
    • More than $53 million to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery supports to make it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For anyone using opioids, naloxone kits are available free of charge at pharmacies across the province. Call 911 in an emergency.
  • The Addiction Helpline, a 24-7 confidential toll-free service, at 1-866-332-2322, can provide support, information and referral to services. Treatment can also start right away by calling the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP) seven days per week at 1-844-383-7688.

From the City of Red Deer

Province finalizes site for future therapeutic community

The future location for a therapeutic community in Red Deer was announced today, with the Provincial Government identifying 10 acres of land within the Chiles Industrial Park as the future site in Red Deer. The facility, announced on June 18, 2020, will be home to 75 treatment beds and will provide long-term residential treatment to individuals struggling with addiction.

  1. Where will the future therapeutic community be located?The 10 acres of land identified for development of the Provincial residential treatment community is located approximately one kilometre north of Highway 11A and Gaetz Avenue, in the Chiles Industrial Park, directly adjacent to Highway 2A in north Red Deer.
  2. How was the location chosen?The Province of Alberta and City of Red Deer worked collaboratively to select a location that responds to the long-standing need for residential treatment in Red Deer. The site was selected as there is enough available land for the self-contained facility, it is away from the urban core but still accessible to community services such as health care, and is vacant and able to be temporarily developed within the timeframe needed.

    Ten acres of land located in the Chiles Industrial Park in north Red Deer was identified as the future site for the facility. This site respects the needs of future clients, businesses, residents and the entire community in mind.

  3. Who owns the land, which is designated for the future therapeutic community?Formerly owned by The City of Red Deer, the Province of Alberta signed an agreement to purchase the land from The City of Red Deer with the intent to build a therapeutic community. The agreement is in place for five to ten years, and if the Government of Alberta chooses to move the facility to another site, the land will return to The City of Red Deer.
  4. When will the land be developed?The transfer of the land will occur on or before fall of 2021, with the Province currently indicating it plans to start accepting clients by the end of the year. Development is expected to begin this summer.
  5. What zoning and approval processes are needed before development can proceed?The Province of Alberta has indicated they intend to get the facility up and running as quickly as possible, and will be responsible for zoning and policy considerations. Citizens with questions or concerns about approvals and development processes can reach out to the Ministry of Infrastructure, or to our local MLAs (Mr. Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer South or the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer North: www.assembly.ab.ca/members/members-of-the-legislative-assembly).
  6. Who will operate the future therapeutic community?The site will be owned by the Province, and operated by an accredited agency. The Provincial Government will be launching a formal request for proposal (RFP) process to select an agency to operate the facility.
  7. How much will the future therapeutic community cost?The estimated cost for the future facility is still to be determined, with all funding coming from The Province of Alberta as part of its economic recovery plan. There is no City of Red Deer operating investment into this facility. The City, however is contributing in-kind capital contributions through a utility connection to bring water and sewer servicing to the development as well as providing some additional landscaping for the area.

 

From The Mayor of Red Deer

Mayor Veer responds to Provincial therapeutic community announcement on behalf of City Council

“The future location for a new therapeutic community in Red Deer was announced today, with the Provincial Government identifying 10 acres of land located in north Red Deer as the future site for the facility.Formerly owned by The City of Red Deer, the Province of Alberta has signed an agreement to purchase land from The City with the intent to build the new therapeutic community. The agreement is in place for five to ten years, and if the Government of Alberta chooses to move the facility to another site, the land will return to The City of Red Deer. Once built, the new facility will be home to 75 treatment beds and will provide long-term residential treatment to individuals struggling with addiction. As this is a Provincial project, there is no operating investment from The City, however The City is contributing in-kind capital contributions through a utility connection to bring water and sewer servicing to the development as well as providing some additional landscaping for the area.

The identification of this land marks the next step towards a solution to many of the health and social challenges our community has contended with for years due to lack of comprehensive health and social infrastructure and programming in our city and region. This project will help respond to the long-standing need for local residential addictions treatment to help address community impacts of the national drug crisis.

Located approximately one kilometer north of Highway 11A and Gaetz Avenue in the Chiles Industrial Park, directly adjacent to Highway 2A and outside the urban core, this site respects the anticipated needs of future clients who are being treated for their addictions, while considering the needs of businesses and the entire community in mind. This location also repurposes underutilized public lands.

Development is expected to occur this summer, with all further development processes and approvals now under the jurisdiction of the Province of Alberta.

On behalf of my fellow members of Council, I would like to extend our thanks to the Government of Alberta for hearing us and fulfilling this long-standing imperative for our community, and for supporting us in our call for securing a residential treatment site in Red Deer.

Citizens with questions or concerns about approvals and development processes can reach out to the Ministry of Infrastructure, or to our local MLAs (Mr. Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer South or the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer North: www.assembly.ab.ca/members/members-of-the-legislative-assembly).”

 

Continue Reading

june, 2021

tue04may(may 4)4:57 pmwed30jun(jun 30)12:00 pmMove Your Mood Family Challenge (June)(may 4) 4:57 pm - (june 30) 12:00 pm

Trending

X