Medicines Provide Benefits to: Patients, Healthcare Systems and the Canadian Economy
► IMPACT OF CHRONIC DISEASE
► PERSONALIZED MEDICINES
► ECONOMIC IMPACT
► DRUG DEVELOPMENT
► PRICING OF DRUGS
► A CHANGING RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
IMPACT OF CHRONIC DISEASE
Chronic diseases add a significant burden to the Canadian economy due to lost productivity. Ensuring a healthy workplace is not only good for employees but it’s also good business.
Thanks to innovation in medicines available today, patients are living longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Medicines can put healthcare systems on more sustainable paths by reducing the need for more expensive services.
Investing in employee health today is the best strategy to deliver dividends in the long term by improving employee absenteeism, presenteeism and short and long-term disability claims.
Cancer in the Workplace*
• Cancer is now considered a chronic disease because there are more than 810,000 ten-year survivors in Canada.
• 43% of all cancer diagnoses occur in working-age Canadians, including 70% of all breast cancer diagnoses.
• About 60% of cancer survivors continue to work during treatment or return to work afterwards.
*Cancer in the Workplace, HRPROFESSIONAL, September 2017
The scientific advances in recent years are leading the way towards a future of personalized medicines and treatments tailored to patients.
- Personalized medicine, which is also called precision or individualized medicine, is an evolving field in which physicians use diagnostic tests to determine which medical treatments will work best for each patient.
- This information is important because many drugs are ineffective for some patients. By combining the data from diagnostic tests with an individual’s medical history, circumstances and values, healthcare providers can develop targeted treatment and prevention plans. This has benefits for both patients and the health system.
- With an aging population and increasing chronic disease rates, the imperative to bring innovations to the healthcare system is acute.
- Genomics is driving a paradigm shift from a disease-oriented healthcare system to one that is more precise, personalized, predictive, preventative and cost-effective.
- Canadian genomics research has already led to saving lives and improving health outcomes and disease management for patients touched by cancer, heart disease, autism, epilepsy, rare diseases and other debilitating diseases.
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Canada’s Innovative Pharmaceutical Manufacturers are a key contributor to Canada’s Life Sciences Economy creating jobs, research and development investments and medicines that improve worker productivity.
We live in a time when innovative medicines are now making cures for previously untreatable diseases a reality. Discovering these new medicines is risky business and involves major upfront investments in both dollars, expertise and of course, time.
From drug discovery to regulatory approval, it takes on average 10-15 years and costs $2.6 billion by the time a drug is discovered and receives approval for sale. What is often is overlooked is that this figure doesn’t include the costs of the drugs that failed in various stages of early and late research.
In Canada, drugs receive a 20 year patent from the time of filing by the manufacturer. This translates into about only eight years of market exclusivity by the time the drug is finally approved by Health Canada.
PRICING OF DRUGS
In Canada, drug prices of patented medicines are not set by the manufacturers. They are strictly regulated by a government agency called Pharmaceutical Manufactures Pricing Review Board (PMPRB). This agency has a dual mandate:
- Regulatory: To ensure that prices at which patentees sell their medicines in Canada are not excessive.
- Reporting: To report on pharmaceutical trends of all medicines, and on R&D spending by pharmaceutical patentees.
As a result of Canada’s strict regulations, drug price increases have historically been below the consumer price index.
- Many countries reference other countries’ prices.
- Complex and constantly changing.
- Requires active monitoring and management.
- Significant financial implications.
- May delay or forego product launch in a country if international impact determined to be net-negative.
- Canadian pricing teams must consider the impact of Canadian prices on other countries’ prices. This is often a global head office decision.
A CHANGING RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
Around the world, the life sciences sector is in transition. Models of discovery and science developments are rapidly evolving, which in turn is dramatically changing how the industry conducts business. The old “blockbuster” discovery model is giving way to more personalized medicines. Global changes in how pharmaceutical companies innovate have led to different investment models over the past 25 years – moving from companies with internal research and development (R&D) infrastructure in multiple countries, to external financing and research partnerships through direct investments, venture capital (VC) funds and other mechanisms.
By partnering with academic/clinical research institutes, commercialization centres and virtual research centres, our industry is expanding its capacity to conduct R&D work in Canada. With targeted financing, our industry is also matching other public and private investments to create risk capital funds, allowing the industry to gain access to promising technologies while sharing the financial risk.