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Pharma research spending saw drop in 2003


Ottawa, ON – July 28, 2004 – The federal government’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) has released figures on research and development by pharmaceutical patent holders across Canada for 2003.

In 2003, R&D expenditures by these companies totalled $1.19 billion, a decrease of 0.5% from the $1.2 billion spent in the previous year. The percentage of sales spent on R&D for all patentees declined to 8.8% in 2003 from 9.9% in 2002, as did the R&D-to-sales ratio for members of the Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) to 9.1%, down from 10% in 2002. Expenditures on basic research fell by 9.3% in 2003 relative to 2002, totaling $180 million in 2003 and representing 15.7% of current R&D expenditures.

The release of these statistics prompted a call from the Rx&D for the federal government to move forward with its innovation agenda and actively encourage and concretely support a new era of research and development in Canada.

“Unfortunately, Canadian intellectual property regime falls short of global standards in many areas,” says Russell Williams, the organization’s president. “The industry is at a crossroad and we must secure a partnership with the federal government in order to reverse this trend.”

Patent and data protection, rapid approval times and better access to the newest therapies are all factors in determining the attractiveness of the investment potential in a given country, he adds. Canada does not have the global levels of protection, approval times (almost twice as long than in the US) and there are more and more restrictions for patient access to medicines.

“If Canada is to fully benefit from sustainable increases in pharmaceutical R&D, a new innovation policy by the federal government is essential,” he says.