October 17, 2013 16:57 ET

Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy: Promising Targets and Measures, but More Is Needed

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 17, 2013) - Rx&D, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, has taken note of the new Québec policy on research and innovation, as presented by Pierre Duchesne, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology. While recognizing the value of certain measures, Rx&D has concerns about the applicability and scope of others and the weight the government intends to place on ensuring new pharmaceutical innovations are recognized and integrated in the Québec market, notably through improved access.

"With this new policy, the government appears to be continuing to support innovation in Québec, while at the same time adding a degree of predictability to current fiscal support," said Rx&D president Russell Williams. "However, more is needed to make Québec's pharmaceutical research as competitive and distinctive as it can be. Further measures could help the province capture a greater share of the $110 billion spent globally on life science research each year."

Rx&D points toward measures to boost synergy and cooperation among various stakeholders such as universities and private business in such priority sectors as biotechnology and personalized healthcare, as well as support for research funds, industry associations, and Génome Québec. Rx&D notes that some measures in the current plan are difficult to assess, and further clarification will be necessary.

"We will continue to give the Québec government our full cooperation in pursuing constructive dialogue," added Claude Perron, president of Rx&D's Québec Committee and president and general manager of Shire Canada Inc. "We know that the main criteria for attracting more funding are protecting and acknowledging the importance of innovation, developing a competitive research community, and creating a favourable economic environment. We would have liked the policy to include a measure on integrating innovation with the public."

The new policy shows that the government is committed to supporting the transformation of research into innovation. Rx&D feels it is worth reminding the government of the importance of bringing new energy to clinical research in the province by streamlining processes and removing roadblocks to efficiency.

Rx&D is of the opinion that the government needs to update Québec's biopharmaceutical strategy by bringing back the permanent forum for dialogue stemming from the biopharmaceutical strategy and the policy on medicines. Under the joint direction of the Minister of Finance and the Economy and the Minister of Health, the forum is a place for discussion with the main actors in the biopharmaceutical sector.

About Rx&D

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 the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

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