Strengthening Innovation Policies Will Create Jobs and Economic Opportunities For Canada, Says Rx&D
OTTAWA, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - In a submission to the federal government today, Canada's innovative pharmaceutical industry has outlined concrete measures aimed at improving productivity and attracting more much-needed pharmaceutical and life sciences investment to Canada.
"Our industry is committed to working with governments at all levels to increase investment and create more high quality jobs in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector," says Russell Williams, the President of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D). "With the right policy tools in place, we can bridge the innovation gap and make Canada a global player in the knowledge economy."
The Rx&D submission to the Expert Review Panel on Research and Development chaired by Thomas Jenkins says that rather than handing out subsidies, the federal government can reverse the trend of declining global pharmaceutical investment in Canada by taking bold policy action in several areas. These include strengthened intellectual property (IP) rights, regulatory modernization and the public procurement of innovative medicines and vaccines. The submission also calls for improvements to the Federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit to spark additional commercialization of new products in Canada. Currently, significant levels of industry investment are not being recognized or accepted under SR&ED.
In order to keep pace with increased global competition and position Canada to maintain its leadership in life sciences, an updated federal R&D policy also needs to recognize and build on the catalytic role Rx&D member companies play in building sophisticated networks and partnerships among a wide range of Canadian public and private organizations and entities.
There is as much as $100 billion available in R&D funding for life sciences globally each year and Rx&D member companies want to attract more investment and research to Canada.
With an emphasis on public policy over fiscal incentives and tax support, Rx&D's recommendations are practical and achievable for Canada given the fiscal challenges facing governments at all levels. The recommendations include:
Strengthening the protection of intellectual property, including an effective right of appeal for innovators within Canada's drug patent regulations.
Implementing a data protection regime competitive with other industrial economies while also providing for a system of patent term restoration.
Modernizing Health Canada's regulatory review process to improve its performance, to better align with those in the United States and Europe. A submission to Health Canada takes an average of 390 days, compared to 350 days in the U.S. and 275 days in European Community (EC).
Expanding the scope of the SR&ED tax credit to help reverse the trend of declining international investment in clinical research and trials. In 2009, Rx&D companies invested $950 million or 78% of their research and development spending on clinical research.
Over the past five years Canada has been losing clinical trials and other research investments to countries other developed nations and emerging economies like China and India because they have developed integrated policies to attract global investments.
"Our members are working every day to win investments for Canada," said Mr. Williams. "Our challenge now is to summon the political will to build on our strong record of success and position Canada to sustain and grow its Life Sciences R&D into the future."
Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents 15,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and invests more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.
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For more information about the Rx&D brief, please visit www.canadapharma.org.