Country Report: Canada - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Canada

Pharmaceutical Executive


Gary Goodyear, former minister of state (science and technology)
Canada is one of the world's most heterogeneous nations. Individuals from every corner of the planet have come here throughout the country's brief existence to live permanently. The ability to have a successful career and quality of life in Canada is second to none; the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary as the third, fourth and fifth most livable cities worldwide in 2013. The country attracts immigrants worldwide to live and work; walking down Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, you're likely to hear at least a dozen different languages being spoken within a couple of blocks.

Réjean Hébert, Quebec's Minister of Health and Social Services
The fact that Canada's unique demographics are spread across the second geographically largest country in the world has resulted in some adaptations. Medical services are therefore mostly concentrated in a few urban centers spread across massive expanses of land. Sue Paish, CEO of diagnostic service provider LifeLabs, comments that "community diagnostic labs are characterized by the need for high volume, exceptionally efficient, reliable and accessible delivery of lab services to geographies that in this country are significant and to other countries are unfathomable."

Jacques Dessureault, president, Valeant Canada (Crédit photo: Marc-André Grenier, collection de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec)
Home care is an excellent way to adapt to the challenges of a large geographical footprint, and so seems to be a good option for Canada, which currently spends the least in investing in long-term care out of developed countries. The OECD has indicated that prioritizing home care can result in savings of up to one percent of GDP. In Quebec, which has the second fastest ageing population in the world after Japan, that one percent could total CAD 3 billion (USD 2.9 billion). Quebec's Minister of Health and Social Services, Réjean Hébert, indicates that the implementation of autonomy insurance would help cut costs in the long run. "At the moment, disabled people have to move from one institution to another corresponding to their needs," Hébert explains. "Autonomy insurance will re-provide the right for disabled and the elderly to choose where they want to live and to get the services they need."


Christian Scheuer, president and CEO, LEO Pharma Canada
Canada operates a single-payer healthcare system in which the majority of services are provided by private entities, which are paid for at the provincial level. The Canada Health Act of 1984 stipulates universal coverage for all insured health services as administered by the country's ten provinces. Medication is covered on a province-by-province basis. The split between public and private healthcare is roughly 70 to 30 percent.

Deborah M.Brown, president of EMD Serono Canada
"Canada is perhaps the only developed market with an emerging market growth outlook," says Riad Sherif, president of Novartis Canada. "It is a mature and well-established market with strong processes in licensing, registration, reimbursement, and assessment of drugs. Yet it also has an emerging market growth outlook, which means a positive outlook expansion if you do the right things."

Michael Seckler, CEO of Ferring Canada
Because healthcare is managed by each of the ten provinces, pharmaceutical companies have to look at Canada as ten individual markets, as each has its own regulations regarding pricing and reimbursement. "Canada actually parallels Europe in terms of pricing, reimbursement and market access," remarks Michael Seckler, CEO of Ferring Canada. "The country has a challenging product launch environment and requires careful considerations to provincial and private payer reimbursement. We have to be cleverer to communicate our value proposition to payers and other stakeholders. We take this very seriously and at Ferring we start consideration of market access as early as possible in product development and life-cycle management planning."

Brian Lewis, president and CEO, MEDEC
According to LEO Pharma Canada's president and CEO Christian Scheuer, the complexity of the Canadian system has created an opportunity for some pharma companies to reinvent their business model. "There are so many stakeholders to engage with today that it creates a system or a network," says Scheuer. "From an internal organizational perspective, it would imply that access and scientific affairs are now as important as sales and marketing when engaging with the marketplace."


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