February 4th, 2020

// New federal drug pricing rules already delaying product launches and costing jobs, survey reveals

New federal drug pricing rules already delaying product launches and costing jobs, survey reveals

Company executives unanimous about unprecedented serious negative impact, contrary to federal government's claim of no downside to changes

TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2020 /CNW/ - The federal government's new price controls for patented medicines in Canada are already resulting in delayed product launches in Canada and in losses of jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, according to senior executives polled and interviewed for a comprehensive survey conducted for Life Sciences Ontario.

The 46 respondents included the leaders of 36 pharmaceutical companies, who were unanimous in saying the new federal price controls will have a negative impact. The executives were from both Canadian companies as well as Canadian affiliates of global pharmaceutical companies.

The most significantly impacted areas of business are in product launches and supply of products to the Canadian market, as well as in employment.

"We intended to launch a new medicine in early 2021. Now that it's clear our price will be dramatically reduced, we suspended our regulatory submission because the original business case and pricing assumptions have been challenged," one executive said during in-depth interviews conducted as part of the survey. "It has a compounding problem. If not launched in a timely way, it will have impacts on staffing, training, hiring support and patient programs."

Other areas that will be negatively impacted, the survey shows, are three important means by which Canadian patients get early or better access to new medicines: clinical research (91%), patient support programs (73%) and compassionate access programs (70%).

The therapeutic areas most threatened by the changes will be cancer medicines, biologic medicines and rare disorders.

"This survey refutes the federal government's position that there will be no negative consequences for Canadians from its new drug pricing policy," said Dr. Jason Field, President and CEO of Life Sciences Ontario. "LSO strongly supports efforts to ensure affordable drug prices for Canadians, but not at the expense of a completive life science environment that supports clinical research and makes new, innovative medicines available to Canadians. The complex new rules and uncertainty of how they will be applied directly contradict the government's stated goal of building a competitive knowledge-based economy in Canada."

"In my years of doing research I have never seen such unanimity about the impact of a new government policy," said Rachelle Deshaies, Senior Market Research Executive and Principal at Research Etc. "I was also struck by the consistency of the comments and business rationale about why this new policy will impact pharmaceutical companies and their ability to launch medicines in Canada." 

Complete survey results are available at bit.ly/MedPriceControlsSurvey

About the survey
The survey was conducted by the independent firm Research Etc. for Life Sciences Ontario. Online surveys were completed by 46 pharmaceutical and life sciences executives in Canada between Nov. 19, 2019, and Jan. 17, 2020. Thirty-six executives were in senior-level positions at pharmaceutical companies (27 at Canadian affiliates of global companies, six working directly with a parent company outside Canada, and three with a parent company based in Canada). Ten executives were from life sciences companies, including those involved with clinical research, patient support programs, healthcare IT and non-profits. Qualitative research was also conducted, comprised of ten 30-minute in-depth follow-up telephone interviews completed between Jan. 21 and 30, 2020. Of these interviewees, six were from large global pharmaceutical companies and four from smaller companies, including those that are Canadian-owned and headquartered.

About Life Sciences Ontario
Life Sciences Ontario is a member-driven organization that represents and promotes the province's vibrant and diverse life sciences sector. Ontario is currently home to one of the largest life sciences clusters in North America, contributing $58 billion to Ontario's GDP, and providing almost 200,000 direct and indirect jobs for Ontarians. About 1-in-13 jobs in Ontario are in life sciences or supported by its activity. LSO collaborates with governments, academia, industry, and other life science organizations in Ontario and across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout the sector. Membership in Life Sciences Ontario includes individuals, students, emerging companies, investors, service providers, and companies with marketed products. LSO is dedicated to promoting Ontario's life sciences sector internationally. Visit lifesciencesontario.ca for more information.

SOURCE Life Sciences Ontario

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